Feeling concerned or overwhelmed by all the news is understandable. You may be anxious about your own health, or someone in your family, or what impact the virus will have on your life. Here are some steps you can take if you are feeling anxious:
Talk to someone about how you’re feeling
Whilst it is normal to feel worried, if you are starting to feel overwhelmed, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and speak to someone you trust, whether that’s a friend, a family member, or a helpline.
Arm yourself with the facts
There is a lot of information about the virus out there and false reports can fuel anxiety. Stay on top of what’s happening by using the Government website https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus, it is the most up-to-date and reliable source of information. The NHS common questions about the virus can also be useful if you are worried about symptoms or family members https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
You might see stories or posts on social media that makes you feel anxious. It can be very hard to know whether or not social media posts are true, so try not to rely on updates from there. Check the facts on the official websites.
Don’t overexpose yourself to the news
Staying informed can make you feel in control but the constant news reports could also become overwhelming. Try to get your information from reputable websites (like those we’ve mentioned above). If you do want to read or watch the news, try to limit the amount of time you spend and stick to regular intervals in the days. If you are finding it hard not to think about the news, try to plan some activities that you enjoy and which will take your mind of things, whether that’s chatting to a friend, watching a film, listening to music or reading a book.
Take a break from social media if you feel like the updates are getting too much. Remember you are in control of what you see on your feed, take breaks when you do feel like things are getting too much or mute and unfollow accounts that make you feel more worried, or just switch off all together.
Stick to a routine
With so much uncertainty in the news, sticking to a routine can really help maintain a sense of normality. Maintain your routine as much as possible by getting up in the morning and going to bed at the same time. Eating regular meals and staying hydrated will help also, as well as taking breaks throughout the day to talk to someone or do something that you enjoy. You might want to add extra activities into your day that make you feel calm (see below) but try to keep to your daily schedule as much as possible.
Find things that help you feel calm
Like at any other time, it’s important that you are not only looking after your physical health, but your mental health too. Think about some activities that can help when you are feeling overwhelmed, like breathing techniques, writing down how you feel, playing music or talking to a friend. For some ideas, have a look at how you can make a self-soothe box, or these coping techniques. Often things that distract you will help ease feelings of anxiety, but try to avoid turning to stimulants like cigarettes or alcohol which can leave you feeling worse.
It’s important during this time that you keep acknowledging how you are feeling and do this regularly. We know that things might continue to feel overwhelming or scary. It’s good for you to talk about this where possible.
You may find that you are struggling to cope, think about who you can turn to. It could be a family member or someone you know, who you can share your feelings with.
You can also contact the Headway Essex Support Line. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible or if you are in urgent need of support please call 01206 845945 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm).
Use NHS 111 online https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ if you suspect you are experiencing symptoms.