It is hard to avoid hearing about Covid-19 with constant and continuous news bulletins, updates, posts on social media and even chatter between family and friends.
Being told to ‘self isolate’ or engage in ‘social distancing’ and seeing the whole nation just about come to a standstill is quite a scary thought for everyone.
But in these unprecedented times for our generation our actions now may define us in the history books.
Which is why it is of the utmost importance that we follow all public health and government guidelines, such as staying home and only leaving for essential supplies, family or medical emergencies and exercise within a 2km radius of our homes.
That's a lot of pressure for everyone - let alone young people, and we know just how tough it may be for some to stay at home and not see your friends or peers.
And with these restrictions and just general worry about our own and our loved ones health, it is natural, ok, and perfectly normal to feel anxious.
Here are some things that you can do to reduce your stress and/or anxieties:
Exercise – Any form of physical activity is encouraged as long as correct protocol is followed. Walking for 30-40 minutes a day can help alleviate stress and mild depression as it releases ‘feel good’ endorphins.
Meditate – Try to clear your mind of all anxieties by engaging in simple breathing activities daily. When some thought or worry enters your mind, acknowledge them and allow them to leave. Take some deep, stress busting breaths and continue the day a new person.
Eat well and feel well – “You are what you eat” is a phrase we are all familiar with. In times of stress we tend to reach for sugary and fatty foods. These foods can actually release more stress hormones like cortisol - making our feelings worsen. However, we can reduce stress by reaching for more fruit and vegetables and snacks low in sugar and fat.
There are many relaxation techniques and different things work for different people. Employing relaxation practises such as mindfulness and meditation can create the opposite effects to stress and anxiety. They can also lower heart rate and reduce blood pressure . By trying some of the following at home (there are lots of free downloadable Mindfulness and Relaxation apps or attending a local class, you can find what works for you.
• Muscular relaxation
• Body Focus
• Deep Breathing Exercises
It may help to stop thinking about how you are feeling and distract yourself. Focus on what is going on around you – for example if you are in a car, walking etc. and feeling anxious count how many blue cars you see or how many people wearing red etc. Keep active - Go for walks, do sports, cycle. Engage the mind in mental games e.g. spell words, count backwards, say the words of a song.
Teach yourself about Covid-19:
There is a lot of Corovid-19 “fake news” circulating on social media and messaging apps.
Reading this will only scare, worry and confuse you even further.
Please make sure to only read news from trustworthy news outlets and organisations such as the World Health Organisation and the HSE.
It's also important to put your phone, tablet or laptop down for a while and step away from the TV screen. Do not overwhelm or bombard yourself with information. Take a break.
If you receive messages in private groups revealing “new information” on the Coronavirus, refrain from sending them to other people and instead refer to this website hse.ie - which is updated regularly and share them instead.
Taking necessary precautions:
Here are a number of things that you can do to help prevent the spread of the virus and enable us to #flattenthecurve
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds minimum. Learn how to wash your hands properly here.
Avoid touching mouth and eyes and wear gloves when outside, where possible.
Up your hygiene routines in the house by disinfecting and sterilising counter tops and handles etc.
Dispose of tissues when used and wash hands immediately.
If you cannot wash your hands, use hand sanitiser if it is available to you.
Follow travel advice from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. With the news being constantly updated with new figures and new cases, try your best to avoid checking in for regular updates as the news of the Coroanvirus will be on your mind for the entire day.
Remember talking is a powerful tool in managing your anxieties so if you are feeling overwhelmed by everything, talk to someone; a friend, a family member, a work colleague.
We must support each other through this time, so check in on friends and family and ask how they are feeling as many people will be feeling anxious and worried around this time also.
If you need further support remember to let us help you here at Talk To Tom. We can be your guide - contact us on (0818) 303061or via Whats App. To launch a chat now click here. You can find out more about our counselling service here.
Other services you where you can reach someone to talk to are:
Samaritans offers a 24 hour listening service over text message, text 'Hello' to 087 260 9090 to get started (standard text messaging rates apply) or call 116 123 to talk to someone over the phone.
Childline text and instant messaging services are available from 10am - 4am every day to young people under 18, text 'Talk' to 50101 to talk to a trained counsellor by text message or call 1800 66 66 66.
Visit Your GP:
We always recommend that you visit your GP. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. Your doctor is a professional health care provider and will be familiar with how you are feeling. You mental health is just that - your health. You would visit your GP if you had been feeling physically unwell right ? Your emotional health is just as important as your physical well-being - in fact the two go hand in hand. If you don’t have a current GP you can find a list of services in your area here. You can also contact the CareDoc service on 1850 334 999
Contact the Emergency Services:
If you are an immediate danger to yourself and are going through a suicidal crisis please contact the emergency services by dialling 999 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.