Covid-19, self-isolation and your mental health

With Covid-19 (Corona Virus) rapidly becoming more and more prevalent in our society, for many of us, the feeling of uncertainty can be too much to bear. Although there is a need for many of us to stay informed of developments, 24-hour media coverage and social media posts and shares can sometimes affect the state of our mental health.

With the present worry to our loved ones’ physical health, not to mention our own, it is important now, more than ever that we are able to implement ways to look after our mental health.

What if I, or myself and my family, need to self-isolate?

On Monday 16th March 2020, the UK government advised the public to avoid ‘all but essential social contact.’ For many of us, this means spending much of our time at home, with numerous, regular social activities no longer being accessible to us. If we can’t eat out, socialise with friends or visit the gym, what do we do? Of course, there is going to be a period of adjustment, but we must try, day by day, to see what is happening as an opportunity to embrace the changes that are going on.

If you enjoy eating out at restaurants, could you recreate your favourite ‘restaurant’ meal at home? If you regularly socialise with friends, create a Whatsapp group to keep in touch. Suggest a different, random topic to chat about or find out about each day. Keep in touch with loved ones using Facetime or Skype and keep the focus of the conversation on a shared interest, a recent film you’ve watched, a book you’ve read, or something different you have done with your day. Laugh about memories, smile about what you will do tomorrow. If you like to work out, then improvise! There are plenty of ways to keep fit and be physically active at home, write up a new training schedule and keep a diary of your success! See this as a reset, be creative, we are all more than capable of making these changes, even if it’s small steps each day.

Useful tips

  • Try to avoid online/social media speculation about Covid-19 (have a break from Facebook if the things you read make you feel anxious)
  • Set aside a specific time each day to access relevant updates about Covid-19, don’t spend all day watching or listening to the news (this will help you feel more in control)
  • Stay connected to friends and loved ones (during anxious times, we feel better with someone to talk to and someone to listen to us)
  • Avoid habits that may increase in times of worry like smoking and drinking alcohol (this will not be beneficial for your physical or mental health)

What about my children?

Talk to your children about what is going on and support them by answering any questions they may have. Ensure that they are not over-exposed to news programmes about Covid-19, as they will undoubtedly feel overwhelmed, as you may do, by the information. Make their time of family self-isolation a positive experience by involving them in daily plans. Make up a mini timetable of activities, games and homework. Create a top ten fact file about a new topic that interests  them. Encourage them to write a diary or a story, paint a picture or make a movie on their tablet or iPad for the family to watch at the end of the day.

Corona Virus and mental health

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