COVID-19 and your mental well-being
Looking after your mental well-being
As you observe social distancing, you may find yourself becoming bored and frustrated more often. Your mood and feelings may be affected; you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping and you might just miss being outside with friends and family.
At times like these, it is easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse. Some health promoting tips you may try:
Develop a sense of mindfulness
Times of high stress can bring out both the best and the worst in people. Over-indulgence is common during stressful periods; as is the tendency to become easily annoyed, saddened and generally overwhelmed. It is important to recognize that this those around you may also have similar feelings.
Try to be mindful of how you are feeling and acting during these periods and be gentle with yourself, and with those around you.
Try and stay calm, especially in front of those who may be looking to you during this difficult time (such as children, partners and parents). Using techniques like mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing deeply are often helpful.
The Feeling Thermometer (click here) is a useful tool to gauge your feelings.
Limit your social media and COVID-19 coverage intake
There is an abundance of media coverage on COVID-19 that is constantly being reviewed and changed moment by moment. Try and limit your viewing of news coverage to once a day; using trusted sources such as Public Health Gibraltar or WHO for your information. Do your best to contain the anxiety that COVID-19 generates by setting up check-in times with family and friends, journaling, or engaging in hobbies.
Set a routine for you and your loved ones
Routines allow us to have a degree of structure in day to day living. These can be set for yourself and for family members and can include cleaning, learning, school work and so on. Make sure these routines involve time for leisure activities too!
Reach out to your support networks
Strengthen relationships with family and friends, work colleagues, spiritual groups etc. using technology (e.g. FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, WhatsApp…)
Focus on controlling the things that you can
Try and keep your focus on each day without getting caught up in worrying about the future, especially when it seems so uncertain. Remember, we cannot control the future; and we should certainly not let the uncertainty drive us to despair. Keeping sight of the present moment is what we can do, why not use the time to start a new project or complete unfinished task.
Stick to (or create new) healthy habits
Exercise, good nutrition, and quality sleep are all helpful things for both your mental and physical health.
o Use a piece of equipment such as an exercise bike or treadmill if you have one
o There are many YouTube videos that offer free movement classes for all age groups
- Eating and Drinking
Drink plenty of water and eat some good nutritious foods. You could also challenge yourself to learn how to cook something new.
Try and stick to as regular a sleep schedule as possible. Aim to get to bed by a certain time each night, and wake up by a certain time each morning. This will be especially helpful when you have to get back to your normal routine.
- Get some fresh air
If you have a garden space and weather permitting, try to get outside at least once a day. If you are at a high risk (e.g. are elderly, immunocompromised, etc.), or living with someone who is at a high risk, instead try opening the windows to get some fresh air in!
Develop a self-care toolkit
A self-care tool-kit can be different for everyone. Many successful self-care strategies involve a sensory component (touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell). Some examples include:
- For touch, a soft blanket or stuffed animal.
- For taste, a favourite snack or drink.
- For sight, a picture of loved ones or from a fun vacation.
- For hearing, make a playlist of your favourite songs.
- For smell, a scented candle or essential oil diffuser.
- Some things can engage more than one sense, like putting on a nice-smelling lotion (touch and smell) or colouring in a book (touch and sight).
Find at least one thing to feel positive or grateful about every day
A lot of what we see and hear at the moment can be scary and cause concern. It can be helpful to seek out the opposite; such as finding one thing that makes you smile, laugh, or feel good each day, such as a funny YouTube video, a heart-warming story, or a song with a hopeful message. Sharing this can double the impact and your happy moment can turn into someone else’s happy moment, too!
Help others if you can
Research shows that helping others is a great way to help yourself. Even with social distancing, there are many ways to help others in your community:
Make a donation of money, supplies, or time to a cause you care about.
If you are shopping for groceries, pick up some items for a neighbour who might not be able to leave their home. Remember to be especially mindful of practicing recommended hand hygiene steps during your shopping trip.
Useful Contacts for Local Mental Health Support:
Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) at Coaling Island support people living in the community who have complex or serious mental health problems every day from 9am-5pm – Phone: 200 42307/200 41659
Approved Mental Health Practitioners (AMHPs) at Primary Care Centre are responsible for considering requests to carry out Mental Health Act assessments on individuals in certain circumstances every day from 9am-5pm – Phone: 200 71386
Ocean Views Hospital – Phone: 200 78807
- Sunshine Ward – Phone: 200 48160
- Horizon/Sky Ward – Phone: 200 48169
Mental Health Support – Email: MHS@gha.gi
A&E-Mental Health Liaison Nurse provides mental health assessment and treatment for people who are inpatients at SBH or for those who may go to the A&E department and are in need of a mental health assessment.
In the event of a mental health crisis, contact Ocean views hospital on 20078807. If they are unable to answer your call someone from the Mental Health Team will contact you later (same day).
GibSams – free to call service from 6pm to midnight every day; if you want to talk to someone in confidence. Call: 116 123
Clubhouse Gibraltar – providing mental health support during the following hours:
Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 9.00 am to 4.30pm; Tuesdays 9.00 am to 6.00 pm; Fridays 9.00 am to 3.00pm. Telephone: 20068423 or Email: email@example.com You can also see their website for more information: clubhousegibraltar.com
Childline – 8008 free phone available from 5pm – 9pm
- Live chat service available every day from 5pm – 9pm
- WhatsApp: 58008288
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.