How to Maintain Good Mental Wellbeing During the Coronavirus
Parliament Street's Head of Campaigns, Danny Bowman provides tips on how to take care of your own mental wellbeing and on how you can help others.
The coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, causing a substantial number of individuals to become extremely anxious about the current situation we find ourselves in.
The constant barrage of information, some helpful, and some not so helpful continues to contribute to increasing mental strain on the population. It’s important to remember that within this crisis we must not only protect our physical health, but also our mental health. Below are five simple steps to maintain positive mental wellbeing for ourselves and for others during this crisis.
Five steps to better mental wellbeing in a crisis
1. Speak to One Person Each Day
During the Coronavirus people are understandably reducing the number of individuals they see in a day. Keeping their distance from large gatherings and withdrawing from situations where the spread of the virus may be more likely.
Although, in our technologically advanced world we can connect with people over the phone, through Facetime, emails and even Facebook Messenger. At a time like this a simple message to a friend or a call or facetime to a family member can make all the difference in the world. Its communication that is at the heart of who we are as human beings and communication can benefit not just our mental health, but others too.
2. Do Something Kind
A crisis like this demands kindness, it is one of the most important attributes that a population must hold if it endeavours to get through times of great struggle. Doing something kind doesn’t have to be some grand gesture, it can be simply smiling at someone as you walk in the street, helping out your neighbours with food supplies or even supporting a vulnerable person who may feel overwhelmed with anxiety during this difficult period.
3. Give Your Time - Volunteer
The coronavirus outbreak has left many vulnerable people across the United Kingdom without the resources they need to get by in their day to day lives. You can change that and improve your mental wellbeing by volunteering to do it. There are many schemes out available now looking for volunteers to support the national effort of supporting our must vulnerable people in times like this. An example of a scheme is run by the British Red Cross where you can become a Community Reserve Volunteer helping the most vulnerable in your community. The help may include going to get an elderly person’s shopping for them, picking up prescriptions, or simply just having a phone call with someone that may feel incredibly isolated during this time. By partaking in these tasks, you can improve your own mental wellbeing, but also that of others. This is the time for us all to come together to help each other in our communities and improve our mental wellbeing whilst at it.
4. Take a Balanced Approach to the News
At times like this it is so easy to continuously watch constant cycles of news, feeding us the same information repeatedly. I have been guilty of this over the last couple of days (as an OCD sufferer this was not helpful!) looking at the television or my laptop hopelessly unaware of the effect this was having on my anxiety levels. Of course, it is important to remain informed, information is power, but overload of information in times like this can have the opposite effect, filling us with doubt and fear of what’s happening and what’s to come. We must have a balanced approach to the amount of television (coronavirus related) we are watching. Choose specific things to watch for information. This could be the daily address by the Prime Minister and health experts for appropriate guidance, but don’t become fixated on unnecessary details that may be harmful to your wellbeing.
5. Maintain Hope, Optimism and Resolve
It’s very easy at times like this to become fixated on the situation in front of us, fearful of what it means and distant from any sense of hope, optimism and resolve, but if we are going to, and we will get through this, we need to cling on with all our might to these three things.
We can be hopeful about the steps that are being taken by people across the world to end this crisis in its tracks, we can be optimistic when we see the thousands of health and social care workers who continue to protect our most vulnerable, the supermarket workers who work tirelessly to keep our shelves stocked and the people in labs across the world innovating to find a cure for this virus. Finally, we can be filled with resolve in the knowledge that we will undoubtedly beat this virus, stop the spread and move forward together. By allowing ourselves to feel these three important things, we are allowing ourselves the best chance of maintaining good mental wellbeing and enabling others to feel the same way too.
I know this virus may seem scary, causing unimaginable anxiety in many of us, but we know that we will overcome it, and to do this we must maintain good physical and mental health.
Danny Bowman is Head of Campaigns for leading UK think tank, Parliament Street.
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