Coronavirus: How to protect your mental health

I just wanted to pull together some of the best articles I’ve seen on staying sane at the moment. Many people already have anxiety which will undoubtedly be heightened at the moment. Thank goodness we’re not in the depths of winter with this happening. Some sunshine certainly helps you to remember that the world keeps turning and to feel hopeful and safe in the knowledge that this will pass.

This article from the BBC is good it highlights that the uncertainty around the situation and the mixed information doesn’t help matters. However, you can take steps to control your panic response.

AnxietyUK suggests practising the “Apple” technique to deal with anxiety and worries.

  • Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.
  • Pause: Don’t react as you normally do. Don’t react at all. Pause and breathe.
  • Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.
  • Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don’t have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
  • Explore: Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else – on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else – mindfully with your full attention.

I also thought this article from Vox was useful on How to manage anxiety during a pandemic

Tis is my favourite part:

Fighting the war on boredom

  • Hobbies: Have you been considering taking up embroidery? Knitting? Miniature furniture making? Baking? It’s a good time to dive into an activity you can do at home. Morale matters!
  • Things for working-from-home: If your job is possible to do remotely, you should prepare for being encouraged or asked to work from home for the next few months. Make sure you have a desk and a chair that’s comfortable, and consider other contingencies like a prepaid wifi hotspot for if your internet’s being unreliable.
  • Electronics and, potentially, spare parts: If your phone or computer breaks, it’s an inconvenience in the best of times. Right now, it might be more than that, if you’re relying on your connected devices for work or interactions with the outside world and stores aren’t open to get a replacement. If you can afford a backup phone, a spare battery, or replacement parts for the devices you rely on, then you’re not one unfortunate spill from disaster.
  • Things for quality time: Face it, you might be stuck with family, roommates, or partners for a while (and experts do not recommend even small gatherings with other families, which can still transmit the virus). So have on hand some things you can do together: board games, video games, sheet music for sing-alongs, popcorn for movie nights. If you can’t afford to purchase much, keep in mind that many activities that can make the long days go by faster are basically free: My family is planning a D&D game, which can be run with free online materials and a set of dice (if the dice are too pricy, your phone will do the trick).

I have a chin-ups bar and a rowing machine so every time I have the kettle on (really getting through that large supply of teabags at a rate of knots!!) I can move a little bit. Then out for a walk or short bike ride after work.

Remember that there is a time out of the other side of this. Call old people you know and who probably don’t have broadband. Have video calls with people who do, Google Hangouts is free and you can get up to 15 on one video call (please do reply to our emails if you need tutorials for any of these and of course we will help where we can).

Finally some memes that made us smile 🙂 (we don’t condone alcoholism of course!)