As news about coronavirus (COVID-19) dominate the headlines and public concern is on the rise, Mental Health would like to remind that taking care of your mental health is as important as looking after your physical health. Good mental health and positive wellbeing can help you better cope with the COVID-19 threat and the uncertainty it’s creating.
There are many ways to keep a sense of control in order to ease coronavirus anxiety:
- Seek accurate information
Limit yourself to reading information only from official sources like the World Health Organisation (WHO), the European Commission or reliable national sources (for example, Belgian government website). These credible sources of information are key to avoid the fear and panic that misinformation may cause.
- Take care of yourself
Self-care in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak includes focusing on things you can control (like having good hygiene) instead of those you cannot (stopping the virus). Where possible, maintain your daily routine and normal activities: eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep and doing things that you enjoy. Consider creating a daily routine that prioritise your wellbeing and positive mental health. Activities, like taking a walk, meditating or exercising, can help you to relax and will have a positive impact on your thoughts and feelings. The Mental Health Foundation, for example, recommends that you see it as an opportunity that might have benefits like finally catching up on sleep.
- Support people around you
Keeping in touch with your friends and family may ease the stress caused by COVID-19. Talking through your concerns and feelings may help you find ways of dealing with challenges. Receiving support and care from others can bring a sense of comfort and stability. Assisting other people in their time of need and reaching out to someone who may be feeling alone or concerned can benefit both the person receiving support as well as the helper.
- Positive thinking
Try and focus on things that are positive in your life. WHO recommends to find opportunities to amplify the voices, positive stories and positive images of local people who have experienced the novel coronavirus and have recovered or who have supported a loved one through recovery and are willing to share their experience.