Managing anxiety around coronavirus (updated December 2020)

Here is some updated advice for anyone feeling anxious about the continuing pandemic;

Information about coronavirus is still everywhere in the media and as lockdown number 2 ends we enter into the new tiered system and effective vaccines are on the horizon it’s worth reflecting on how life has changed for us. There is still likely to be anxiety around our physical wellbeing and that of our family, friends and colleagues; the virus hasn’t gone away and isn’t likely to. We may have known individuals who have been affected or even lost their lives to the virus. We are also now feeling the prolonged pressure of the economic impact of the pandemic and we may have also been trying to work from home, home-school children or support teenagers or elderly family and friends through lockdown, cancelled exams and other worries. The holidays this season may not be the same as normal and you may not be able to see loved ones in person. All these factors can have a major effect on our mental health and our ability to cope.

Look at the things you CAN do, rather than what you can’t.

Check what IS allowed in your current Tier and make plans to maximise the safest opportunities to get together in person or remotely with family and friends. Get outside as much as you can to walk and exercise, grab a take-away coffee and enjoy the winter scenery. The “rule of six” applies in all three Tiers to outside spaces such as parks, beaches and the countryside so meeting up with a small group for a brisk walk, run or cycle is allowable as long as all social distancing rules are followed. If you can’t meet up in person, plan an online get together or a phone call to stay connected. It can really help to focus on what we do have rather than on what we don’t; a grateful mindset helps us cope when things are not as we would wish them to be.

Still be mindful

When we are anxious our minds tend to run out of control, worrying about things that have happened and things that might happen. Instead, it can be really helpful to stop and just focus on the present which allows our minds to stop whirring out of control; The NHS Every Mind Matters websitehas lots of techniques you can try. Mindfulness applications such as Headspace and Calm are also available on mobile devices and provide guided or self-guided meditation exercises.

Look after your own wellbeing

Take steps to ensure you are sleeping and eating well, exercising where possible and practicable. There are lots of online exercise and yoga videos you can do in your own home.

MINDhas good advice on how to care for your mental health should you be required to self-isolate or we return to more stringent Covid controls in the future.

This advice includes

  • How to find the right, safe place to stay
  • How to eat well and stay hydrated
  • Keep taking your medication
  • Continue accessing treatment and support if possible
  • Take care of your immediate environment
  • What to do if you have care needs or provide care to someone else
  • How to plan for continued working or studying at home
  • How to find ways to spend your time and keep your mind stimulated

Useful links and sources

People at Work – https://www.peopleatwork.co.uk/my-eap/login

NHS England –https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

MIND – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

NHS Every Mind Matters – https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/anxiety/#custom-2column-share-shelf

UK Government – https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

© People at Work 2020