Looking after yourself and your family
Being asked to stay at home and not see other people much means that many people are feeling that it’s more difficult than usual to take care of their physical and mental health and well being.
There are things you can do to keep yourself and others as well as possible.
Staying fit and healthy
Being stuck at home more is a challenge. But it isn’t all or nothing.
- Staying fit and healthy is just as important as ever
- Regular exercise keeps both mind and body in good shape.
- Even if you can't go to the gym or go swimming or do whatever you usually do to stay fit (your children too), there are other ways to exercise
- Getting outdoors into nature and green space if you can, really helps
- There are workouts on YouTube that you can do at home
- Try a gym free workouts from the NHS
- Go outside - walking, running and cycling are all good. Download the NHS Active 10 (for walking) or the NHS Couch to 5k (for running) for added motivation.
- Just being outside or even standing at an open window helps your mental health too.
Remember that you still need to keep your distance from others when you’re outside.
Looking after your mental health
There’s a lot of anxiety – for good reason, because a lot of what’s going on is unknown, and there’s a sense of waiting for something to happen.
- Fear of being out of control and unable to cope with uncertainty is understandable at a time like this
- Many people with pre-existing anxiety are finding it hard to cope
- We all need to look after our mental well being
MIND has good information to help you cope.
Constant news and other info
The constant stream of news would worry anybody, so think about:
- Limiting how much you watch, read or listen to news that makes you feel anxious and upset.
- Checking for updates, if you have to, only at certain times of the day, once or twice, say.
- Looking for information from places that you can trust (such as WHO or NHS inform) You’ll then get facts not rumours.
- Looking at all the positive stories about how people are helping one another: there are lots of examples.
- Protecting yourself and supporting others. For example, phone neighbours or others who might need some extra help. When you help others, it helps them and you.
- Working together with others in the community can help you feel that we can deal with this together: we’re not on our own.
Coping with feelings and reactions
Here are some good sites for helping you cope with your reactions and any feelings of panic, anxiety, stress, loneliness and so on:
- SAMH has some suggestions about looking mental wellbeing during this time.
- There's Practical advice on this BBC page.
- YoungScot has great information for teenagers, some of which is also useful for parents.
Talking to your children about Coronavirus
Your children may be looking to you for answers. They may see stuff on social media that makes them worried. Speaking openly with your children and answering their questions can reassure them.
- Be open with them and ask them what they want to know
- It’s OK for you to say if you don’t know
- Be honest but tell them as much as they can understand/cope with
- There’s lots of fake information doing the rounds on social media so it’s worth checking reliable sources such as NHS inform
- Tell them facts not rumours as facts can make people feel less worried
- Remind them that you are there to look after them
Parents are role models for their children:
- Your children take their security from you
- Although you may feel anxious yourself, try to find ways to calm yourself, so that you pass your calmness on to them
- What you do and how you behave affects them
- If you are helping others in your community, they will see kindness, just as they will see anxiety if you are panic buying
More information about speaking with your children about Coronavirus:
- The Center for Disease Control
- BBC Newsround for information and conversation starters.
- www.mindheart.co information for younger children in several languages.
Lives in Lockdown
Parents have kindly shared their experience of Life in Lockdown with us. You can read 'Lives in lockdown; parents' accounts here.