3 Apr 2020

Coronavirus and your wellbeing

You would be the exception if you were not worried about coronavirus and how this current situation could affect your life.

It’s a hugely anxious and challenging time for everyone. Staying at home and social distancing is vital but it is also stressful and not normal behaviour. 

Kevin Lafferty is Scottish Forestry’s health policy advisor and he believes there are many things we can do to help us cope better. “Taking care of your own mental health and wellbeing is very important. In a typical day we are being bombarded with important messages all the time and the news on COVID-19 is non-stop.

“We should all take some time out to re-charge the batteries, relax and do something which gives you a chance to put life into persepctive again.” 

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Kevin’s Magnificent Seven stress-busters

Check out Minds 8 Relaxation tips for your mental health to see how relaxation can fit into your daily life. If some of the ideas don’t work for you – don’t worry  - just enjoy the ones that do.

Sunlight: Get as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can as part of your once a day exercise. Bringing nature into your everyday life impoves your mood, reduces stress or anger and make you feel more relaxed.
Indoors: It is possible to get some of the positive effects of nature while staying indoors at home:
• Spend time with the windows open to let in fresh air.
• Arrange a comfortable space to sit, for example by a window where you can look out over a view of trees or the sky, or watch birds and other animals.
• Spend time in your garden if you have one, or open your front or back door and sit on the doorstep.

Connect with people:

• Make plans to use video chat technology to keep in touch with friends or family on a more regular basis.
• Use the phone to call people and check how they are or use instant messaging or texts to initiate chats.
• Arrange with friends to watch a show or read a book separately so that you can discuss it when you contact each other.

Be Active: Exercise is hugely beneficial in keeping your mind and body in good form. It’s a natural stress buster and will help you sleep better.

• Get outdoors each day for a walk, run or cycle.
• Dance to music with the family – make up a fun competition.
• Walk up and down the stairs.
• Try online workouts – they are hugely popular.

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Social media & News

• Try to limit how much you log on to your accounts
• Only trust the main official sources on COVID-19 for information
• Decide to watch one or two news bulletins each day only.
• Turn off the radio and plug into music only.

Breathing techniques and mindfulness:
Learning to breathe more deeply can help you feel a lot calmer. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to keep your shoulders down and relaxed, and place your hand on your stomach – it should rise as you breathe in and fall as you breathe out.
Count as you breathe: start by counting “one, two, three, four” as you breathe in and “one, two, three, four” as you breathe out. Try to work out what’s comfortable for you. Practice this simple breathing exercise each day and it can help you relax and stay grounded.

Useful links
Every Mind Matters: NHS mental wellbeing audio guides https://www.nhsinform.scot/