The government are telling us to stay at home. This will mean a different rhythm of life for most of us and it’s important to care of your mind as well as your body.
You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried or anxious. All of these responses are normal and it’s OK to feel like this. It’s important to remember that whilst staying at home may be difficult, it is essential in order to protect the NHS and save lives. During this period of time, there are things we can do to maintain and improve our mental wellbeing:
- Make every effort to keep in touch with colleagues, friends and family. This could be via email, telephone, video calling (Facetime, Skype, Zoom, Whats App) or social media.
- Spend time doing things you enjoy or find relaxing. You could: read; cook; listen to a favourite radio programme, podcast or audio book; watch a film; or start an arts/craft project.
- Keep active in the house. Consider putting on some music and dancing around the house, walking or running up and down the stairs, do a free online exercise class (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/) or clean the house.
- Keep your brain occupied by doing a jigsaw or puzzle, reading, listening to an audio book or podcast, learning a new language or sign language.
- If you find the constant news is making you anxious, consider setting yourself specific times to watch or listen to the news, check social media or news sources. Don’t forget to use reliable news sources, such as https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus or https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
- Use Every Mind Matters (https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/) for simple tips and advice to take better care of your mental health.
Supporting our volunteers
Our community volunteers are a precious resource, and it’s important to follow the national guidance to look after the health of our volunteers and the communities they support. Everyone should be reminded and encouraged to wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently and to catch coughs and sneezes in tissues. Objects and surfaces which are touched regularly should be cleaned and disinfected regularly, and if you are planning on community support activities it is important to maintain social distancing, remaining at least 2 metres apart at all times. Any volunteers feeling unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature should be sent home and should self-isolate for the recommended time period.
Volunteers over the age of 70 and/or those from high risk groups should also follow self-isolation guidance. They should avoid leaving home and avoid close contact with other people in their home as much as possible. They should ask family, friends and neighbours to support them to do their shopping and use online services where possible. For more information, visit:
What is ‘Shielding’:
There are some people who are at a higher risk of coronavirus, these key groups include those people who:
- have had an organ transplant
- are having certain types of cancer treatment
- have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
- have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
- have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
- are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
- are pregnant and have a serious heart condition
These key groups are being advised to follow additional shielding measures to keep themselves safe which include:
- not leaving their home – not for shopping, picking up medicine or exercise
- staying at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people in the home as much as possible
- Asking friends, family or neighbours to pick up shopping and medicines for them and leaving them outside their door.
If people in these key groups need help with deliveries of essentials, they can register for support at www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable
People in these key groups will be contacted by letter by the NHS by 29th March. For more information please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Mental Health Signposting:
If you are experiencing severe distress or despair the Samaritans, offer a free 24 hour confidential support helpline 116123 or www.samaritans.org.uk
For help or support during this period. The following websites may be helpful:
Employment or benefits rights
Mental health support:
Every Mind Matters website to support individuals in looking after their mental health https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/
Mental Health Foundation information and support for anyone with mental health problems www.mentalhealth.org.uk
Young Minds provide information on children and adolescent mental health www.youngminds.org.uk
CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably for men aged 15 to 35 www.thecalmzone.net
Men’s Health Forum, support for men by text, chat and email www.menshealthforum.org.uk