Taking care of your mental health is as important as looking after your physical health especially in these times. With an alarming death toll and almost 39 000 confirmed cases in the UK the Coronavirus, now dubbed COVID-19, continues to loom changing the country and our lives as we live in isolation teetering on the edge of survival. We are doing a good thing by staying at home. We are protecting life as well as our own.
You may find that social distancing and staying at home can be challenging and frustrating having a new way of life imposed on you, you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping and you might miss being with other people. All these things over time are bound to impact on our mental health.
Setting up a Routine
In the face of chaos and upheaval it is imperative that you create a new daily routine for yourself and for your family. Keep in touch with people. Continue to check up on friends, family and neighbours. Try to get up at the same time as normal and plan how you will spend your day in different rooms within your home – working, cooking, baking, reading or listening to audiobooks, tidying, watching TV, playing board games or doing puzzles and setting up coffee dates online with your friends or finding new ones online. Limit your exposure to news as too much information will create worry and heighten anxiety within the family. When it all gets too much try to get as much fresh air as possible even if it’s a walk down the road and back up again. It will help create a shift in your mindset.
Young People at home
Working with adolescents over the years has highlighted the importance of establishing a routine with them. The same time, same day, same counsellor, same room works to set in motion a routine to create safety and consistency. As their bodies are already a mass of chaotic feelings and confusion now amplified in these unprecedented times, now more than ever our adolescents need routine. Young people are grounded by routine and find safety in routine as much as they push against it. As mundane as these daily tasks are and as much as they may find ways to argue against engaging in routine it is vital that you find a way to work together to discuss what their week will look like, what you need help with in the home and to explore what they would like to do on the weekend that’s different to during the week and work these ideas into their routine. Getting young people to engage in and work together during these times will be a discipline that will benefit them when they are ready to make the transition into adulthood.
Submarine captain’s advice on social isolation
Ryan Ramsey knows what it's like to self-isolate. He was the captain of the nuclear submarine HMS Turbulent between 2008 and 2011 and once spent 286 days at sea without seeing the sky. He gives us some excellent advice. Here is a link to a short clip on how he coped with isolation.
Talk about your worries
It's good to talk about your concerns with others, or if you don’t have anyone to talk to about the more sensitive issues you could get some online counselling from a professional counsellor or psychotherapist. All my colleagues have had to make the transition from face to face sessions to working online now available more than ever before. It works well. So many clients were doubtful about online work and worried that it would not be the same as face to face work but trying it for the first time found themselves surprised at how much they got out of it.
For those who already suffer with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues these are indeed tough times. Getting support albeit online support will help alleviate the emotional burden these times have forced upon us.
Online therapy overcomes barriers that may otherwise prevent some people from seeking therapy. It is easily accessible either through Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime or Zoom.
Online counselling via webcam/video-calling provides an opportunity to explore any personal difficulty in a confidential and supportive environment. This may include expressing feelings that are painful, which many of us experience at certain times in our live. When this happens, it can be difficult to stay positive and cope with everyday life. Online counselling gives you the opportunity to access counselling support at a time and in a place, which is convenient to you. Online counselling can provide support for a broad range of personal difficulties, but there are occasions where it would not be considered suitable, for example if you are at serious risk or in crisis. If this applies to you either when initially accessing support, or during ongoing sessions I will offer information on alternative sources of support for you to contact.
What sort of issues can I contact you about?
Online counselling may be able to help with a very wide range of issues however not all types of issues can be resolved through online video-calling counselling and I will advise you if face to face counselling, or some other form of support might be more suitable. Where I consider that online counselling would not be the most suitable means of support, I will make every effort to assist you in a referral to a suitable alternative.