If you are feeling anxious, worried or stressed about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) there are some simple things you can do to help.

COVID Anxiety

It’s important to know that feeling concerned or overwhelmed by the news is understandable; especially as your social media channels, which are usually places for fun and relaxation, are also full of it.

You might be worried about your own health, about someone you love, or, the impact the virus will have on your everyday life.  If you are feeling anxious here are some simple ideas that may help you to stay calm and reduce your stress levels during the COVID-19 outbreak. Or, jump to the end of the article for links to specific services.

  1. Try keeping a diary of what you are doing and how you feel at different times to help identify what’s affecting you and what you need to take action on.
  2. Relaxation, mindfulness or breathing exercises can be helpful. They reduce tension and focus our awareness on the present moment.
  3. Build physical activity into your daily routine, if possible. Most of us don’t have exercise equipment like treadmills where we live, but there are still activities you   can do.
  4. Be creative by doing arts and crafts, such as drawing, painting, collage, sewing, craft kits or upcycling, DIY, colouring, mindfulness, playing musical instruments, singing or listening to music or writing.
  5. Keep your brain occupied and challenged. Set aside time in your routine for this-Read books, magazines and articles. Listen to podcasts, watch films or do puzzles.
  6. Pay attention to your sleep, both quality and quantity are important for good sleep.Having a good night sleep will help ease anxiety.
  7. Stay connected with family and friends, you can do this by message and video call. Talking to loved ones can help reduce stress and anxiety.

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger

Provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK if you are experiencing a mental health crisis

If you need urgent help text YM to 85258

All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors

Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.

Childline

Comforts, advises and protects children 24 hours a day and offers free confidential counselling.

Phone 0800 1111 (24 hours)

Chat 1-2-1 with a counsellor online

The Mix

Information, support and listening for people under 25.

Phone 0808 808 4994 (24 hours)

Get support online

Samaritans

24-hour confidential listening and support for anyone who needs it. (Adults included.)

jo@samaritans.org

Phone 116 123 (24 hours)

Apps

Headspace

Calm

Stop breathe and think

Calmer you

Beat panic

Hundreds of thousands of people have set up their work offices in their lounge/ bedroom/ kitchen table for the first time due to the coronavirus outbreak. Here are some top tips to stay efficient and keep your spirits up.

  1. Get dressed 

For some people, the prospect of staying in their pyjamas all day is the most tantalising aspect of working from home. But washing and getting dressed will not only improve your state of mind, it will psychologically prepare you to start work.

Whether you need to change into business attire depends on the type of person you are and the nature of the job you have. Some people find that dressing formally is helpful, and also useful if they need to dial into a video call.

But for many others, the point of getting dressed is being forced to shower and change out of clothes they associate with sleep and rest, even if that means just changing into a T-shirt and jeans.

Wearing respectable clothes also increases motivation to leave the house. Likewise, changing out of work clothes when you clock off for the day helps your brain to understand that the working day is over.

  1. Establish boundaries 

If you’re employed by a company, you’ll probably have set hours of work, and it’s important to stick to these when you’re working from home. Be ready to start your day at the same time as you would normally arrive in your office or workplace, and finish your day at the same time.

At the end of a working day, it’s best to switch off your computer and tidy away papers and other items. Space allowing, set aside a specific, separate area in your home where you can set yourself up – ideally with a properly adjusted desk and chair, similar to your workplace.

The NHS advice is that you should adjust your chair so you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor.

  1. Get out and about (if you’re not self-isolating)

Working from home shouldn’t mean you stay cooped up indoors all day. While you might not miss your daily commute, it does guarantee that you leave the house at least once during the day.

So get your shoes on, get outside and enjoy that fresh air. A different perspective will also help undo mental blocks and give you a fresh pair of eyes for any tasks you’re struggling with.

  1. Pick up the phone

If you’re working from home, the chances are you’ll be alone, so you won’t get distracted by colleagues’ conversations and other office noise.

When you’re at work, you’re more likely to engage with colleagues but when you’re working from home, you could spend the whole day without speaking to anyone which can be isolating.

Make some time to pick up the phone and have a real conversation, rather than relying on email and instant messaging.

  1. Take regular breaks

It’s good to have a routine when you’re working from home, but work shouldn’t become monotonous.

And you shouldn’t stay glued to your screen all day. It’s important to take regular screen breaks and get up from your desk and move around just as you would in an office.

Research has also found that short breaks throughout the day are more beneficial than less frequent, longer breaks.

Many home workers recommend the “Pomodoro Technique”, a method of time management which breaks your working day into 25 minute chunks. Each chunk is followed by a five minute break.