The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is causing anxiety, worry and stress for people across the globe. These are exceptional times, but we are a resilient society with the strength and capacity to cope with troublesome situations. There are positive, proactive steps we can all take to support our mental health and wellbeing, and that of our family and friends.
It is an important response to the pandemic, but we need to ensure that does not become social isolation or alienation, particularly for older people and other vulnerable groups. There has never been a more important time to stay in touch with friends, family, neighbors or, sometimes, complete strangers.
Exercise is excellent for your mind and body. You can leave home to exercise outdoors but remember to stay 2 meters away from others. Exercise regularly and choose activities you enjoy. This could be walking, tai-chi, jogging, yoga or an indoor workout.
Eating healthy food is good for our mental and physical health. Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and other foods high in fiber such as brown rice, oats, wholemeal breads, lentils and beans.
Limit unhealthy snacks and drinks high in sugar, unhealthy fat and salt. Unhealthy snacks leave less space for the healthy foods you need to boost your mood, energy levels, digestion, and sleep.
Social connection is important for our mental health. Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or online. Share your feelings with loved ones and trusted people from your community and invite them to share with you. Limit your visits with your family and friends.
If you do visit, practice physical distancing and keep 2 meters apart, and maintain good personal hygiene. Do not visit if you are unwell.
Take a break from the news and social media
Social media can help you stay connected, but too much time can make us feel stressed. It is good to stay informed, but choose trusted sources of information, like the government.
Stick to a routine
Have a regular bedtime and meal times. Plan your day so you have time for household chores, connecting with others, activities you enjoy, and rest.
Monitor your mental health and well-being
It is really important to monitor your mental health and wellbeing. It is also good to be aware of family, friends and neighbors who may be worried or stressed. Things to look out for include difficulty concentrating, poor sleep, and feeling distressed or overwhelmed. These are signs that it is time to reach out.
Do not be afraid to talk to someone if you are feeling stressed or anxious. Talk to friends and family about how you are feeling. You are not being a burden.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or if what you’re going through is making it hard to get on with your daily life, contact your doctor.