For clients of the Helen Bamber Foundation: The team at HBF are still here to support you, so please call us if you feel things are getting worse for you. Our therapy team will be here to listen and help you as much as we can. We know this is such a difficult time for everyone, and we are aware that our clients will be particularly affected by recommendations that people avoid social contact.
Lots of people are feeling very anxious about how this situation is developing and may be worried about friends and family in other parts of the world. This is completely understandable, but try not to let your worry become overwhelming. Here are some top tips to care for your mental health at this time:
Avoid watching, reading or listening to news that cause you to feel anxious or distressed; seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice. Try to focus on reading factual reports from reputable sources, e.g. the government or NHS websites, in order to help you distinguish facts from rumours.
If you notice you are spending many hours a day worrying, try to limit the time you spend worrying to just one set time in the day (e.g. 9.00-9.30am every day). Outside of these times, write down your worries on a piece of paper and then focus on them during your next allocated ‘worry time’. This will mean you can focus on more helpful activities at other times of the day.
Seek support from friends (or HBF, if you are a client of ours) if you need it. We are still here for you.
Remind yourself that this situation won’t last forever.
Engage in activities that are meaningful and enjoyable (see suggestions below).
Protect yourself and be supportive to others. This situation is incredibly difficult for everyone and we all need to support each other to keep going during these hard times. Focus on the fact that people are coming together to help each other more than ever before and this gives you an opportunity to get to know more people in your community. If and when you feel well enough (and it is safe for you to do so), see if you can also get involved in helping your housemates, neighbours and wider community. Being someone who helps others in difficult circumstances can be as helpful to you as the helper as the person you are helping.
During this time of uncertainty, you may be finding it even more difficult to feel safe and relaxed. You may be feeling more fearful, tense, anxious, have problems with concentrating and may be finding it more difficult to sleep. We know that by helping people to relax their minds and bodies this can help them to feel more safer and calmer. Doing focused breathing and guided imagery exercises can help you to feel less tense, anxious and can also help with sleep.
Although we are not with you in person, we have put together a number of video/audio exercises that you can do at home that will help your mind and body feel more relaxed.
These techniques can take time and practice, so make sure you set some time aside to do them.
Mindful Body Scan
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
More Resources that might be helpful for people self-isolating, or reducing social contact
Staying at home and reducing social contact that we are used to can be really hard.
Remember that whilst things are uncertain at the moment, this situation will not last forever. If you are reducing your social contact, this is the right thing to do, no matter how hard. Acknowledge to yourself how difficult the situation is at the moment, but try to take care of yourself and find ways to cope with it.
Below are some examples of things that you might find helpful, but get creative and find what works for you. These websites and documents were not produced by HBF, but are just resources that are already available that we think might be helpful for you!
Tips for taking care of your physical and mental health wellbeing:
Headspace App: for the next few months, there will be a free section of this app called “Weathering the Storm”, which is free and available to everyone. It includes meditation, sleep and movement exercises.