Advice for your Mental & Physical Health
What is the information source?
Ensure that you rely on trusted authorities such as NPHET HSE WHO NHS or CDC for information about the pandemic and what to do. Whilst it is understandable that people will want to watch some media reporting of the crisis, people who find their anxiety levels increase when they do so, should very much limit their exposure to such information. In an uncertain time, people should try to ‘stick to the known facts’ rather than focus on speculation and possibly unhelpful stories of dismay, tragedy or sorrow.
Ensure that you proactively reach out to other people and check on how they are doing. Share your own concerns with them that may in turn help them to share their concerns with you. If you must isolate yourself physically, there is a wide range of ways to keep in touch using phones, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom or similar. Physical isolation should not mean social isolation. Perhaps best not to wait for other people to contact you; make a distinct effort to be more in touch than usual.
Whilst you might feel that there is currently ‘no point’ in sticking to a healthy lifestyle, in fact it is now more important than ever to do so. We know that a healthier body makes it more likely you will have a healthier mind. So this is the time to get more sleep, eat better food, drink less alcohol and give up smoking (or at least, smoke less) and to exercise more regularly. Getting out into the outdoors is still possible even in lockdown and nature is uplifting for times when we can feel overwhelmed.
We are also concerned with the risk of dermatitis from frequent hand washing. This can lead to unnecessary absence from work by health professionals. On the basis of research in this area, we would recommend daily use of hand Moisturiser to protect your skin.
If you do get to the point of feeling unable to cope, reach out to someone for help. Just because there will be many more people who have physical health difficulties during the current crisis does not mean that those in a mental health crisis should not be cared for too. Illness impacts on our mood and mental wellbeing too, so prioritise your mind and body health.
Make use of trusted sources of information to bolster your mental resilience. Have a look at the NHS Every Mind Matters website (https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mindmatters/ your-mind-plan-quiz/) which provides a range of information and tools that you might find useful. The Mental Health Foundation have some information which is specific to the current outbreak (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-yourmental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak). References: Society of Occupational Medicine, UK. October 2020