10 Tips For Coping With COVID Worries
COVID-19 has had a massive impact on ‘normal life’. And it doesn’t seem that things are going to change anytime soon. If you find that you are having problems coping with COVID try some of our tips below.
Signs that you are not coping with COVID include feeling worried, stressed or anxious over things that wouldn’t normally affect you so much. You might find that you are feeling sad, bored, lonely, frustrated or more angry than usual.
Now that most of the strictest Lock-down rules have been eased you might find that you just don’t want to leave your home. BUT:-
- It is OK to feel this way
- Everyone reacts differently
- These difficult feelings will pass.
- If these difficult feelings don’t pass, you should think about asking for help.
Below are 10 tips to help you take care of your mental health and emotional well-being. These are tips to help people when coping with COVID worries.
1. Stay in touch with people
Being in regular contact with people we are connected to is important for our emotional and mental well-being. Even more so when we are coping with COVID and all its impacts.
Thanks to modern technology, and our love affair with Social Media and Phone Apps, it’s so much easier to stay in touch. And not just with one person. WhatsApp and Zoom are just two apps which allow groups of people to talk to, and see each other at the same time.
Even Netflix has a Party option, so you can watch feel-good films together with friends and family when you’re miles apart, and chat during the film.
For those living in areas where government quarantine guidelines have relaxed a little, it is now a little easier to catch up with friends and family. Just make sure you follow the latest government guidance, wear a mask and stay at least 2 metres apart from each other.
2. Talk about your worries
You may find it difficult to talk about things that are worrying you. Or how you are coping with COVID. Especially if you think that your worries aren’t as big, scary or critical as other people’s.
It’s okay to feel worried or anxious. Your worries are just as legitimate as other people’s worries. And it really is very normal to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation.
Or send silly memes or videos to cheer each other up. What is important is that you share your worries with other people who you trust.
If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing that has not helped, there are helplines you can try instead.
Click on the following links for Free Telephone counselling services:-
NCMH Crisis Hotline is a 24/7 mental health crisis phone service. It can provide mental health crisis intervention as well as help refer people to other agencies, as needed.
Call 0917 899 8727 or 0917 989 8727
0917 899 USAP or 0197 989 USAP
3. Help or support someone else.
Most people get a “little warm glow” from helping other people. It makes you feel good about yourself when you have been able to help someone else coping with COVID. Whether it’s supporting them with their own feelings and worries, or with something they need help with.
Are there things you can do to help those around you? Even if you can’t donate anything yourself, can you help by posting on Social Media to get more support? Can you offer to pick up something or drive someone somewhere? Are there any community groups you could join, to support others locally?
Helping others can help you to stop focusing on whether you are coping with COVID.
Remember to follow government Coronavirus regulations and ordinance for anything that involves physically meeting people or collecting something from people.
4. Look after yourself
What we put in our bodies can have an impact not just on how we feel physically, but mentally and emotionally too. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and drink lots of water.
Try to avoid falling back on a smoking or vaping habit. And try to avoid drinking more alcohol than you would pre-COVID. Smoking makes stress worse and alcohol makes depression, frustration and anger worse.
Unhealthy patterns of behavior may feel comforting at the immediate time but they will end up making you feel worse.
Going for a walk, run or bike ride can really get those endorphins pumping. Anything that gets your heart pumping will help lift your mood and clear your mind. If you can’t go out, or you don’t have anywhere that is safe to walk, run or cycle, stick on your favorite tunes and dance or sing instead.
If you do go out remember to stay at least 2 metres apart from others and wear a mask.
5. Stick to the facts
Find a credible information source you trust to help you know the facts about COVID and government regulations.
If you are not sure what you have read is credible, fact-check it against other news feeds or sources. Or with other people you trust to know the facts.
It is important to try to avoid sharing untested theories, cures or stories that you see on Social Media.
What you post could have an impact on friends or family who read it. It may make them more worried or anxious. Try not to share information yourself, without fact-checking against credible sources.
6. Think of ways to manage any difficult feelings
Being worried about the COVID-19 is perfectly understandable. But the worry and anxiety can really affect some people making it difficult to focus, sleep or do their normal daily tasks.
If this sounds like you, try to focus on things that you can control.
Things that are in your control are
- Your behavior
- How you react to situations or people
- How often you think about COVID
- How often you get your COVID information (which could be what causes your feelings of not being in control).
Some people have found that limiting the time they spend watching, reading or listening to news and updates about the Coronavirus has helped.
Other things they have done include un-following certain friends, pages or groups on social media for now, so they don’t see news alerts all the time. Others just scroll past posts, or make a decision not to read the comments, or leave a comment themselves.
If you do still feel worried about your anxiety levels. Or worried that you are becoming more depressed you can use this online mood self-assessment test from the National Health Service in the UK.
Answering 12 multiple choice questions, the results will show you if you are coping with normal levels of anxiety or depression. Or if you should think about contacting a doctor or mental health specialist. (Just don’t contact the links given in the results, as these are services for people in the United Kingdom)
7. Be Mindful of focusing on the present
As we have already covered, it is normal to accept that some things right now are out of your control.
But if the feeling of being out of control is affecting your normal day or behavior you may want to look for things that can help you.
Try setting a “worry time”. This is good if you have found that your worry or anxiety is so overwhelming that it then takes over your whole day.
Set a specific amount of time each day (if needed) to think about your concerns or worries. This could be an hour or even just 30 minutes. After the time is up do not allow yourself to slip back in to thinking about the things that cause you anxiety or worry. This approach can help you to focus on other things, and the rest of your day.
You could practice Gratitude; every day think of 5 things that you are grateful for. It could be things like refreshing rain after a hot day, an uninterrupted cup of morning coffee, the sound of a child laughing, your favorite song coming on the radio etc.
Don’t just think of it as a list, really think about each thing and how it makes you feel; re-imagine it, the colors, smells and sounds. Recreate it in your mind and enjoy the ‘feel-good’ you get from it.
If you are feeling really anxious and not coping with COVID, try the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Grounding Technique: Look around for:-
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can touch
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste/ like to taste.
Grounding helps calm anxiety; by identifying objects around you. You are helping your brain recognize where you are, which creates a sense of comfort and control.
You can also trying Deep Breathing. Sit comfortably and inhale slowly and deeply through your nose keeping your shoulders relaxed. Exhale slowly through your mouth. As you blow air out, purse your lips slightly (duck lips) and keep your jaw relaxed. Do this 20 times
Try to focus on the present. This can help with difficult emotions and improve your emotional well-being instead of worrying about things out of your control. Or things that may never happen!
8. Do things you enjoy
But focusing on your favorite hobby or activity, or relaxing or connecting with friends and family can help with anxious feelings and thoughts.
If you can’t do all the things you normally enjoy doing, because of quarantine restrictions, try to think of other ways you can do them. Do something similar or try something completely different.
Check out our Article Things to do when you’re in lock-down, which lists lots of free resources and ideas
9. Keep your normal sleep routine!
Sleeping, or rather how well you sleep, can make a world of difference to your mood, energy and attitude. Sleeping badly can affect your mood and even affect your eating habits!
If you’re stuck at home, or if you’re currently working from home, rather than at your normal workplace, it is really important that you stick to your normal sleep time and routines.
Coffee, alcohol, nicotine and big meals close to ‘bedtime’ can affect your ability to sleep. So if you have got in to the habit of eating later at night, go back to eating at your ‘normal’ time.
Do your best to go to bed at your normal time and wake up (and get up) at your normal time. If possible, avoid napping during the day, especially if you wouldn’t normally nap.
10. Managing sleeplessness
Worries and concerns can impact how quickly you fall asleep, as well as staying asleep.
If this is you right now try things like reading a book, the Deep Breathing exercise (mentioned earlier), doing slow and gentle stretches, or meditation before going to bed. Put your phone on silent, and screen-face down to avoid temptation.
When you’re struggling to fall asleep, do not try to force it. You will just become frustrated and be even less likely to sleep. If you feel you’re really tired but you enjoy the feeling of just lying down quietly, do that. Sleep may naturally take over.
But if it doesn’t, then get up and do something relaxing for a bit. Such as reading a book or listening to quiet music, and then go back to bed when you feel sleepier.
If you can’t sleep because your mind is racing, get up and write things down as a To Do List for the next day.
Or if you wake up a lot and then find you clock watch don’t think to yourself “Oh No, I have to get up in 3 hours and I can’t sleep; I’m going to feel terrible tomorrow”. Do some reverse psychology on yourself and think “Oh Good! I have 3 more lovely hours of sleep to enjoy”. Recreate in your head the feelings you have when you wake up after a lovely, deep and blissful sleep to help you back in to the right mind-frame.
Yellow Brick Cinema – Relaxing Music, has a huge collection of music and sounds to help with meditation and relaxation before sleeping. Subscribe to their YouTube Channel or download their Yellow Brick Cinema iOS App, which is free for 7 days https://apple.co/3eMp0FE
Remember all this too will pass! A day will come when we won’t have to worry about coping with COVID anymore.