The government is telling us to stay at home and only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work, to stay two metres (six feet) away from other people and wash our hands as soon as we get home.
This will mean that more of us will be spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities will no longer be available to us.
It will help to try and see it as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it.
It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual. Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.
Create a new daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. You could try reading more or watching movies, having an exercise routine, trying new relaxation techniques, or finding new knowledge on the internet. Try and rest and view this as a new if unusual experience, that might have its benefits.
Make sure your wider health needs are being looked after such as having enough prescription medicines available to you.
Tips from the Mental Health Foundation during COVID-19
- Try to avoid speculation and look up reputable sources on the outbreak
- Try to stay connected
- Talk to your children
- Try to anticipate distress
- Try not to make assumptions
- Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media
You may need to gauge their level of understanding or interest to decide what level of detail you need to go into when explaining what is going on. It’s important to respond to their questions and concerns, so that anxieties don’t build up. You could start by asking them what they think is going on, if their friends are talking about it and what they are saying, and if they have any questions.
Older children may have already read or seen a lot of information about coronavirus on social media or online. If they are feeling overwhelmed by what they are reading, encourage them to acknowledge what they are finding difficult. You could help them limit the amount of times they check the news, and encourage them to get information from reputable websites. The Government website is the most up-to-date and reliable source of information, and the NHS common questions has useful information if they are worried about symptoms or family members.
Starting a conversation can be difficult, especially if you’re worried that your child is having a hard time. You’re the leading expert when it comes to your child. You can tell when they aren’t in the mood to talk, or when they aren’t responding to your attempts. Above all, it’s important to remember that as a parent, you do not need to know all the answers but you can help to contain their fears and anxieties by being there for them.
Ten tips from YoungMinds Parents Helpline
- Try not to shield your child from the news, as it’s likely they will find out somehow from school, being online or from friends.
- Talk to your child about what is going on. you could start by asking them what they have heard.
- Try to answer their questions and reassure them in an age appropriate manner. Remember, you do not need to know all the answers, but talking can help them feel calm.
- Reassure your child that it is unlikely they will get seriously ill, and if they do you feel ill you will look after them. Your child might be concerned about who will look after you if you catch the virus. Let them know the kind of support you have as an adult so that they don’t feel they need to worry about you.
- Give some practical tips to your child about how they can look after themselves. For example, show them how to wash their hands properly, and remind them when they should be doing it.
- Keep as many regular routines as possible, so that your child feels safe and that things are stable.
- Spend time doing a positive activity with your child (e.g. reading, playing, painting, cooking) to help reassure them and reduce their anxiety. This is also a great way of providing a space for them to talk through their concerns, without having a ‘big chat’.
- Encourage your child to think about the things they can do to make them feel safer and less worried.
- Be aware that your child may want more close contact with you at this time and feel anxious about separation. Try to provide this support whenever possible.
- Remember to look after yourself too. If you yourself are feeling worried, or anxious about coronavirus, talk to someone you trust who can listen and support you.
Joe Wicks PE
Change 4 Life Indoor Activities for Kids
Every Mind Matters
Play Therapy Helston
One thing that we have seen all over the world is that kindness is prevailing in uncertain times. People are coming together to sing on balconies in Italy, others are offering support to elderly or vulnerable neighbours- like collecting groceries or calling them for a chat. We have heard stories of people having virtual movie nights and creating choreographed dances over video chat to share with the world.
The benefit of helping others is that it is good for our own mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress and improve your emotional wellbeing. In short, doing good does you good.
The government is now advising us to avoid all but essential social contact. This will mean that more of us will be spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities will no longer be available to us.
It will help to try and see this as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even though you didn’t choose it. And there are still lots of things that we can do for other people to inspire kindness in unforeseen times:
- Pick an item from the list below
- Take action
- Share the kindness on social media
- Tag @mentalhealth on Twitter and @mentalhealthfoundation on Instagram and Facebook
- Use the hashtag #CoronavirusKindness
- Call a friend that you haven’t spoken to for a while
- Tell a family member how much you love and appreciate them
- Make a cup of tea for someone you live with
- Arrange to have a cup of tea and virtual catch up with someone you know
- Help with a household chore at home
- Arrange to watch a film at the same time as a friend and video call
- Tell someone you know that you are proud of them
- Tell someone you know why you are thankful for them
- Send a motivational text to a friend who is struggling
- Send someone you know a joke to cheer them up
- Send someone you know a picture of a cute animal
- Send an inspirational quote to a friend
- Send an interesting article to a friend
- Contact someone you haven’t seen in a while and arrange a phone catch up
- Spend time playing with your pet
- Reach out to call a friend, family member or neighbour who is experiencing loneliness or self-isolation
- Donate to a charity
- Lend your ear – call a colleague/friend and ask how they’re finding the change in routine
- Give praise to your colleague/friend for something they’ve done well
- Arrange to have a video lunch with a colleague/friend
- Send an inspirational story of kindness people around the world are doing for others to someone you know
- Donate to foodbanks
- Offer to skill share with a friend via video call - you could teach guitar, dance etc.
- Offer support to vulnerable neighbours
- Offer to send someone a takeaway or a meal
This advice is to help adults with caring responsibilities look after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people, including those with additional needs and disabilities, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.