The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is seriously challenging our social, economic and business stability, as well as our freedom of movement and working practices.
It is not surprising then that this is having a detrimental impact on our mental health.
Our human vulnerability and ability to cope with this threat has been exposed. Naturally, people are fearful, anxious, uncertain and some of us are panicking.
This is clearly a time to take positive action and follow necessary precautions, as well as keep a tight rein on our emotional reactions.
It’s important to recognise the dangers and to acknowledge our fear and anxieties, rather than be driven by them.
This means constructively handling our health and stress, developing ways to cope and not allowing our fears and irrational reactions to get out of hand.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19): 10 Ways to Build Mental Resilience
During a crisis, it’s important to know ways in which we can adapt and strengthen our resilience, in order to maintain good mental wellbeing.
1. Make Healthy Home-Work Adjustments
Set and maintain your personal & professional boundaries. Managing time spent on work and socially, in a way that best suits your present needs & situation can help to reduce pressure and conflict.
Schedule time with family, friends & colleagues for home/remote activities, such as mindfulness, yoga, meditation, listening to music, dancing, reading, book reviews, or just chatting. These can help to reduce stress and lift your mood.
Avoid putting pressure on yourself and thinking negatively as this is counter-productive.
2. Perceive Things as Challenges Rather Than Problems
When presented with a problem focus on finding a way forward and attaining a clear goal.
Having a constructive view on the present situation and working towards a specific outcome enables you to positively draw on all of your resources, in order to get you to where you need to be.
3. Cultivate a Positive Mindset
Exposing yourself to positive internal and external messages can help build confidence and counter our negative bias, supporting a more productive mindset.
4. Establish Good Sleep Habits
Sleep is essential for your overall physical and mental health and well-being.
Good sleep helps to build your resilience in dealing with stress and anxiety.
Create Healthy Sleep Routines & Behaviour:
✅Get up and go to bed at regular times
✅Avoid heavy meals, exercise and using screens, a few hours before going to bed
✅Ensure your bedroom is dark enough and a comfortable temperature
5. Set Realistic Expectations
Reflect on the expectations set by yourself and others.
Examine how realistic these are and adjust them according.
Identify manageable steps in meeting expectations. This helps to limit disappointment and stress, as well as enabling you to achieve your goals more easily.
6. Eat Healthily & Remain Active
Eating well and being active will help to keep up your energy, strengthen your immune system and assist to maintain your physical and mental fitness.
7. Beware of Your Alcohol or Drug Intake
During crisis or times of high stress, it can be easy to be tempted into increased or improper alcohol or drug use. Remain vigilant and keep busy. This will enable you to remain focused and avoid creating or worsening your mood or situation.
8. Stay Safe & Stay Connected
There is a huge amount of advice being given about how to keep yourself and others safe. It is not only wise but can be lifesaving to follow informed messages and official sources.
To help cope with isolation and physically distancing regularly check-in and remotely connect with others. This enables you to gain reassurance and companionship through being connected and supported.
9. Talk About Your Feelings & Seek Support
Sharing your experience can be a great relief. This enables you to gain understanding and support, assisting you to deal better with your situation and feelings.
Monitoring your mental health, along with engaging in actions to reduce stress, such as exercise, taking breaks, healthy eating habits, having fun, meditation & listening to music, can help lift the mood and maintain better health.
Reach out for support if you notice signs such as prolonged low mood, excessive anxiety, increased anger and aggression, anxiety and panic attacks, obsessive thinking and behaviour, loss of hope or interest, feeling or thoughts of self-harm.
We should not underestimate how much the threat and difficulties, presented by this crisis, can deeply unsettle and distress us. This can exacerbate conditions and seriously impact those who have already been experiencing a poor mental health or mental illness.
The list at the end of this article provides information on mental health support options (UK Only).
The Road Ahead
Like never before, has there been an essential need for taking care of our mental health.
This is a top priority for everyone. Our human limits and mental capacity are being strongly tried.
Coming through this crisis well will require significant support, commitment and investment in our mental well-being and resources. We must now rise to the challenge.
Seeking Mental Health Support (UK)
For anyone seeking support with their mental health here are a range of available support options.
Gov UK Mental Health Support
Provides advice to support mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis. People struggling with their mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will be offered additional online support and practical guidance to help them cope:
New Advice to Support Mental Health During the Coronavirus Outbreak
NHS Mental Health Support Helplines Resource
Provides a national list of organisations supporting people with a wide range of mental health problems and mental illnesses: Mental Health Helplines
Shout – TEXT 85258
Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.
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