Is Coronavirus news getting you down? Are you anxious about your health or the safety of loved ones, or is life with the kids at home 24/7 getting a bit much? Everyone is being impacted by Covid-19 in different ways, and many of us are experiencing stress and/or anxiety in reaction to this difficult time.
Which is why right now, carving out moments for self-care and tranquility are especially important. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, these are the techniques and activities to try out to get some relief.
Please note that if your anxiety symptoms are severe, it may become necessary to contact a qualified mental health professional.
Get more health-related advice at our dedicated hub page.
1. Limit your news intake
Of course, it's important to stay informed, given how quickly the situation is changing. However, staying online for hours and reading every coronavirus-related article is only going to make your anxiety worse. Allocate yourself a set amount of time for reading the news each day and stick to it. And stick to trusted sources, such as the BBC news or mainstream channels/newspapers/websites. Don't be lured on to Facebook groups where everyone's an armchair expert.
2. Try a 10 minute guided meditation
There are countless online materials for guided meditation (opens in new tab) that will help you relax, some as short as ten minutes (useful if you have young children and don't have much time to yourself). Some involve listening to ambient music, while others are more like talking therapy. Explore and experiment and you soon enough will find something you respond to well.
3. Take a bath (or a long shower)
Need to be alone for a bit? Take a bath. Failing that, a long, warm shower. Warm baths are great for us in all sorts of ways: they relax tense muscles, improve circulation (good for both physical and mental health), and – taking a bath can be a real refuge from noise and stress. Add some aromatic bath salts to amplify the effect.
4. Try potting up some house plants
Gardening has been shown to be good for our mental health, but if you don't have a garden, try doing some potting indoors. Whether it's bonsai trees, succulents, or good old geraniums, planting can be soothing and fun; besides, house plants look great in your home. And you can order them online.
5. Read a good book
Reading as little as 10 minutes a day has been shown (opens in new tab) to reduce stress and risk of depression, and this applies to both adults and children. This doesn't mean you can't read a thriller or detective story – it's whatever captivates and delights you. If reading before bed, though, consider something fairly calm like a biography or non-fiction book.
6. Home schooling? Go easy on yourself
If, like us, you're homeschooling your kids (and trying to work from home), go easy on yourself. Everyone's in the same boat and we don't know a parent amongst us who's found today easy, let alone the weeks to come. We spoke to a teacher today and she said that if you can get them to three hours in one day, you've done really well. And some of that time might be reading a book or watching a film version of a classic book – or tackling Joe Wicks' PE lesson. Get those done and you're halfway there.
- And don't forget that good sleep is essential to feeling well – find out how to sleep well in our guide