It is normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed during these uncertain times. The threat from Covid-19 and the restrictions we all face due to National Lockdown can cause us to experience heightened levels of anxiety, fear, anger and sadness. You may be feeling helpless, discouraged, irritable and even out of control. Physically you might notice symptoms such as headache, muscle tension, fatigue and sleeplessness.

Psychological and physical wellbeing is key to taking care of yourself at this time and here are a few tips you can use to take care of yourself:

Physical health

  • Nourish your body by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water.
  • Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Exercise daily (adhering to current guidelines).
  • Take deep breaths and stretch often.
  • Avoid risky or destructive behaviours, such as drinking too much alcohol.
  • Spend time outside, such as going for a walk in the park, whilst following social distancing.

Mental health

  • Set and maintain a routine at home.
  • Focus on the things you know you can control and accept those things that currently you can’t.
  • Use technology to maintain social connections with your loved ones. Consider a regular check-in with a loved one to give you something to look forward to.
  • Focus your thoughts on the present and things to be grateful for today.
  • Listen to music or read books.
  • Listen to only trusted news sources that report the facts, and avoid media that sensationalizes emotions. Limit your exposure or take a break from news and social media if you find that it makes you anxious.
  • Lean on your personal beliefs and faith for comfort.
  • Acknowledge and appreciate what others are doing to help you and the community.

 Keep an eye on the following:

  • Trouble focusing on daily activities.
  • Anxiety that turns into feelings of being out of control or despair.
  • Strong feelings that interfere with daily activities.
  • Having emotions that become difficult to manage.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

If any of these things become persistent or interfere with your daily functioning consider contacting your GP for help and support.

At St Raphael's we offer patients and their loved ones a space where you can explore your personal feelings, beliefs and thoughts - in a safe and supportive way, with someone who is trained to do it sensitively.

Counselling can help you to cope better emotionally, especially at difficult times, when the upset can feel overwhelming. It can be just a few sessions or last over several weeks and months. If you feel you would benefit from talking with one of the team, whatever the reason, simply contact the Hospice on 020 8099 7777 and the Psychological Support Services Team will get back to you to talk through your needs and what we can provide.

By Steve Molyneux

Clinical Lead, Psychological Services

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