We all know about pandemics now. COVID-19 is a new disease that has spread across the world. It’s a really scary time right now, hopefully I can offer you some really helpful tips and discuss your mental health and COVID-19.
Just like physical health, and we all have mental health. Our mental health is how we think, it is how we feel, and what we do, and it involves our emotions. So, there’s lots of things happening around us every day that can affect how we think and how we feel. Something might happen and it can make us feel happy and something else might happen that can make us feel sad. Sometimes those feelings can come and go but sometimes they stay for a really long time and they start to get big and the bigger they get, it makes it really difficult for us to deal with them on our own.
With COVID-19, there are lots of things that have changed that can start effecting our mental health. We might be feeling more anxious or more worried around this time. We might be feeling really worried about our friends and our families, and we might be having lots of thoughts about COVID-19, which can also start to make us feel quite anxious. We might be feeling more anxious, every time we watch the TV and news comes on about COVID-19.
Because COVID-19 has also changed a lot for us, such as our routines, getting up, getting dressed and going to school, we can also start to feel a little more anxious because we’ve lost some of our routines. And because the corona virus also means that we can’t see our friends or maybe for some people it means that they’re still going to school, they might start to also feel a little bit worried about families and friends that are at home.
Not being able to see your friends during this time or not being able to play sports that you’ve really enjoyed can start to make you feel really alone and you might start to really miss your friends, and this can start to change your mood, so you might start to feel sad or low in your mood. There are ways that can help you to notice when your thoughts and your feelings are getting too big for you to handle on your own and they start effecting your mental health.
When it comes to your mental health and COVID-19, times are really tough, and it’s really important to remember that feeling low or anxious is completely normal. But by spotting when we start to feel low or anxious we can put plans into place which can actually help us with those moods. So, I am going to spend a bit of time talking about low mood first. When we start to feel low or sad we might notice differences in the way we are acting. We might find we just are not motivated; you might not want to get out of bed in the morning or do our school work.
We might also find that the level of work we do is just a bit less than usual as we are finding it really hard to concentrate. We might also notice differences in our sleeping. We might notice we are sleeping more or sleeping less. We might just notice our overall energy levels are next to nothing and that we are always tired. We might find that we feel irritable and angry. This is really important as it is very common in low mood but often gets overlooked.
If you notice the little things are bothering you, and they wouldn’t usually, then that might indicate you are experiencing some low mood. It is also worth noting you might be eating more or less than you usually do. You might have thoughts that everything is hopeless, and nothing is going to get better. Now you might also stop reaching out to your friends or doing things you enjoy.
This can actually make your mood worse, and make you feel lower and sadder. This means you might not be replying to texts or reaching out to communicate with your friends. Now low mood is a bit different to anxiety. Anxiety is a bit like a car alarm going off inside your head saying something bad is going to happen, but you don’t know when. You might notice changes in your body when you get those kinds of messages.
You might notice you get tummy aches; your heart might start to race, and your breathing might get heavier. You might feel dizzy and sick. Sometimes you can wake up with a stomach ache or feeling sick, and this can mean you might be feeling anxious. You might also start to find you are feeling scared or nervous a lot of the time. You might also start to have what if thoughts “what if someone gets it, what if someone gets ill, what if things don’t get better. This might take up a lot of your day just thinking about these things.
This might also interrupt your sleep, you might be sleeping less because you are spending more time with the same thoughts going around and round your head. Now if you are experiencing any of the things I have spoken about with regards to low mood or anxiety, then it is really important that you reach out to someone you trust and you talk to them about how you are thinking and feeling at the moment.
It is also important to say you can experience low mood and anxiety at the same time, so they might both match how you are feeling. The most important thing that you can do right now is talk. Talk to people that are in your house and also those that aren’t.
You can do this via helpful websites like Reachout, just make sure that you are staying connected. Think about the things that you can do at the moment and not what you can’t. So, washing your hands for 20 seconds (and singing happy birthday, at the same time!), stay inside, come up with a daily plan or log. This will help you keep track from day-to-day, you can set yourself goals that can be to do with your exercise, or your school work, or things that you enjoy.
Make sure that you’ve got the same bedtime and wake up time from day-to-day. Eat regular meals when you normally would. Make sure that you are staying hydrated. This is really important because it is starting to get really warm. If you find the news really scary, just like me. Please limit the time that you are watching it. Try and do something else or find something else that you enjoy!
Maybe try playing a board game or completing a puzzle. If you’re feeling anxious there are some really good apps on the app store or on the google play store that you can download that just help with breathing techniques and that can sometimes be a useful thing to have.
One thing that is really important is that you still continue to do things that you enjoy and make you happy, so this might include reading a book, or listening to an audio book, maybe playing music, musical instrument or listening to music, getting outside where you can, just make sure you’re sticking to the new social distancing rules. It might be watching a film or a new TV series, there’s some really great stuff out at the moment!
You could take up a new hobby, that might include baking or drawing or maybe learning some new TikTok dances, those can be a really great thing to get involved in. They can boost your mood, make you feel a little bit happier whilst we’re dealing with the corona virus and being in lockdown.
So that’s my advice for improving your mental health and COVID-19 suggestions. I hope you find them helpful in these strange times.