Coronavirus

Looking after your wellbeing

If you are worried about the current outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the affects it will have on your life, please take a look at the following resources and information.

We understand that it is going to be difficult to stay at home and avoid social situations. At the moment our daily routines have completely changed, although it is only temporary, it can still be stressful. But there are lots of things you could do to cope through it, and boost your wellbeing.

Connect with people

Even though you might have to self-isolate and avoid seeing people, that doesn’t mean you can’t be in contact with friends or family.

Here are some tips:

  • Think of other ways to connect with people like video chat, texting, or phone calls.
  • Plan to watch a tv show/film or read a book separately, and then you could talk about it when you call/text each other.
  • Did you know that connecting with others, is one of the 10 Keys to Happier Living? Close relationships with family and friends provide love, meaning, support and increase our feelings of self-worth. Take a look at the Action for Happiness website to find out more!

Plan a routine

Staying at home can become repetitive, so here are some tips to help you get through it:

  • Create your own routine: plan how you want to spend your time, write it out and stick it somewhere you can see it.
  • Think of all the different activities you could do at home on your own and with others, if you live with family (colouring, work out, board games, drawing, writing poems, photography etc).
  • This might be a good time to start an old hobby or try out a new one.

Sunlight

Although you will be spending more time indoors, you can still get the positive effects of sunlight at home:

  • When you wake up, open the curtains and windows. Let the air change in your room and enjoy the bright light.
  • If you like gardening, maybe have some flowers or plants in your house. It will keep you occupied to plant them and water them. If you aren’t sure where to start from there are lots of videos on YouTube.

Feeling Anxious

If you are feeling anxious about Coronavirus, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) website has more information on how to cope.

There are many reasons why you may experience anxiety, and there are different things that might contribute to this feeling like: relationships, physical health, money problems, employment, social media or a stressful event.

“Everyone looks at me and judges me when I walk down the road  or “When I’m at home I think of all the possible things I could say in conversations”  or “I can’t walk to the next lesson, unless someone is with me”  are all examples of some worries you may experience when you feel anxious.

It is also important to understand that we all feel anxious at times because it’s a natural human response when we feel under threat. Anxiety can become a problem when it starts to impact our ability to live day-today life as we would want to.

Anxiety affects how we think, feel and act.

This means that when we worry about a potential threat (within or outside ourselves), an anxiety response can be triggered, we then may try to find relief to escape the situation.

In the short-term, solutions like isolation, avoidance, alcohol or staying indoors might seem to give us relief. In the long term the anxiety response can increase and those solutions we thought were helping us, become safety behaviours.

Check out this guide used within the NHS to find out if you have symptoms or anxiety, understand more about anxiety and find ways to manage or overcome anxiety.

You can find a different self-help booklet created by MIND, it explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family > take a look.

If you are looking for something that will take less time than a booklet, you could also use some of the worksheets from Therapist Aid. They are great resources which we use in counselling and wellbeing sessions too.

Meditation

Meditation can put us in touch with our stress and anxiety, and that’s why it can be so helpful. If you want to explore how mindfulness and meditation can help soften feelings of anxiousness, reduce stress, and calm a panic attack you try some of these resources:

YouTube videos e.g. The Mountain Meditation or Apps > Headspace, Calm, Smiling Mind, Simply Being Guided Meditation, Relax Melodies

Insomnia

Insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning. It’s a common problem thought to regularly affect around one in every three people in the UK, and is particularly common in elderly people.

Get some self-help information and tips. You can also explore many books, worksheets and audio relaxation techniques.

Coping with Low Mood and Worrying

We can all say that at some point in life we remember feeling “low”, “not bothered”, “really down” or “blue”. Feeling low is a normal response, especially when you’ve been in a difficult situation.

  • Low mood can become more severe when it starts to affect our daily life and stops us being able to manage things as we used to.
  • Low moods tend to lift after a few days or even weeks. Depression is when we feel low or negative for long periods of time.
  • If you are feeling low, you may be having negative thoughts a lot of the time. These thoughts can affect how you feel, which then makes it harder to do things.
  • By not doing things you normally would be able to do, you again might get negative thoughts, feeding into this vicious cycle.

If you want to start managing low mood take a look at this > self-help guide

There are also a number of ‘TED Talks’ available online that look at how we cope with low mood and emotions:
If you are dealing with persistent worrying, why not try out this exercise:

‘Leaves on a stream’

(1) Sit in a comfortable position and either close your eyes or rest them gently on a fixed spot in the room.

(2) Visualize yourself sitting beside a gently flowing stream with leaves floating along the surface of the water.

(3) For the next few minutes, take each thought that enters your mind and place it on a leaf… let it float by. Do this with each thought – pleasurable, painful, or neutral. Even if you have joyous or enthusiastic thoughts, place them on a leaf and let them float by.

(4) If your thoughts momentarily stop, continue to watch the stream. Sooner or later, your thoughts will start up again.

(5) Allow the stream to flow at its own pace. Don’t try to speed it up and rush your thoughts along. You’re not trying to rush the leaves along or lose sight of them. You are allowing them to come and go at their own pace.

(6) If your mind says “This is silly,” “I’m bored,” or “this can’t be right” place those thoughts on leaves, too, and let them pass.

(7) If a leaf gets stuck, allow it to hang around until it’s ready to float by. If the thought comes up again, watch it float by another time.

(8) If a difficult or painful feeling arises, simply acknowledge it. Say to yourself, “I notice myself having a feeling of boredom/impatience/frustration.” Place those thoughts on leaves and allow them float along.

(9) From time to time, your thoughts may hook you and distract you from being fully present in this exercise. This is normal. As soon as you realize that you have become side tracked, gently bring your attention back to the visualization exercise.

General Quick Tips

Are you stuck on the same thoughts?

Laugh: Find something that makes you smile or laugh.

Look closely: Pick up a small object and study it intensely, actors use this technique too when switching between characters.

Write it down: Jot down your worries as soon as they come to mind, it gets them out of your mind and onto paper, which gives you a chance to start dealing with them.

Worry time: If you have a lot of worries, give yourself a specific ‘worry time’, this could be 10, 20, 30 minutes. If worries come outside of that time, remind yourself when your next worry time is.

Caring about your body & mind

Eating: Eating isn’t just fuel for the body, it can have an impact on our mood too. Think about what foods you eat and take small steps to eat nutritious food with a range of vitamins and minerals.

Daylight: Light is often overlooked, but natural light can influence our wellbeing. Most of us feel happier when it’s sunny. When our skin is exposed to sunlight it produces vitamin D, which is known as the “sunshine vitamin”. Too little of it is associated with low mood and poor sleep.

Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is a practice where we deliberately pay attention to something specific like our breath, body and sounds around us. This means regularly setting a time to focus your attention on something and noticing when your attention drifts away and bringing it back again.

Be Active: exercising is a great way to reduce stress and release emotional tension. When we exercise we release endorphins and other “happy hormones” which promote the feeling of general wellbeing.

Here are some tips to help you start being more active:

  • Walk around the house (try walking around the house or up and down the stairs)
  • Walk or bike more instead of driving or getting the bus (get off the bus earlier and walk the rest of the way or bike to work/school)
  • Dance (dancing in whatever form is a good way to exercise, but it can also have a positive impact on our mood)
  • Don’t use a remote control (exercising doesn’t just mean going to the gym, it could start from smaller steps like being more active around the house)

We are still here for you

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is making a lot of people feel anxious or uneasy, and we want to reassure you as much as possible that you are not alone.

Behind the scenes we are working hard to put together further new ways to provide counselling and emotional support to any young person who needs it. As soon as these become available we will do everything we can to let you know.

In the meantime have a look at the resources above and on our contact page, and keep checking back here and on our Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest updates.

Best wishes from all the lowdown team 🙂