Limit yourself to reading information only from official sources like the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Government, and the NHS.
These credible sources of information are key to avoid the fear and panic that misinformation may cause. You can also watch the World Health Organisation’s Q&A on Mental Health during COVID-19.
WHO advises seeking factual information mainly to take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones. Try to avoid excessive exposure to media coverage. Constant monitoring of news updates and social media feeds about COVID-19 can intensify feelings of worry and distress. Consider turning off automatic notifications and taking a break from the news. Setting boundaries to how much news you read, watch or listen will allow you to focus on your life and actions over which you have control, as opposed to wondering ‘what if’.
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 has some advice for staying mentally healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak.
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.
Many people may also wonder what to do if they are put under quarantine. Although the idea of self-isolation may seem daunting, keep in mind that this is only temporary and that there are still many ways to regularly connect with others digitally.
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.
We are all adjusting to this new way of living, studying and working. Saint John Walker, Deputy Dean at Escape Studios, has written a great article full of advice on how to keep on staying positive, studying and creating in the light of coronavirus: Sun loungers on the beach, not deckchairs on the Titanic: 14 golden tips for students working remotely
It is normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or upset, among a wide range of other emotional reactions, in the current situation. Allow yourself time to notice and express what you’re feeling. This could be by writing them down in a journal, talking to others, doing something creative, or practicing meditation.
Mind has a lot of useful information on Coronavirus and your wellbeing, including how you can relax, take notice of the present moment and use your creative side.
As well as following the tips above, using online resources and looking after yourself, share your feelings with friends and family, talk through what’s going on, and know that you can always reach out to your tutors or college for support as well.