For the last few months the media has been full of updates about the Covid-19 from daily bulletins on the TV to minute by minute stories in people’s social media feeds – it is hard to avoid.
Most people have been watching the news almost hourly, not only on their TV but on their phones, laptops, etc. While it is important to stay informed about the Covid-19, having a constant stream of notifications and sometimes false news may not be helping your mental health. You might find that you become more anxious and fearful whenever you hear another news notification on your mobile device. If you are becoming overwhelmed with all that’s going on in the world today, here are a few tips that may help you cope during these unprecedented times:
Switch off news notifications on your mobile devices.
These days we all have mobile phones next to us 24/7 and the temptation to grab the phone at every notification can be overwhelming. Instead, check your settings and turn off notifications for your news apps. Better still, check to see what apps are sending updates and uninstall them. If you want to stay informed, set some time aside each morning and evening to log onto the internet.
Mute people sharing updates or false information.
Both Facebook and Twitter can mute users. If someone you follow is sharing updates that make you feel uneasy or sharing misinformation, then mute them. Muting someone doesn’t mean you have to unfollow them but it means you don’t see their posts for a while – and they won’t be notified that you have done this.
Rely on information from reliable and trustworthy sources.
If you want to equip yourself with the latest information about Covid-19, then make sure you turn to a source of information that you can trust. While the temptation is to turn to social media for the latest breaking news, getting information from a reliable source is important.
Share and discuss your fears with someone you trust.
If you are feeling anxious or worried about Covid-19 then it’s good to get someone else’s point of view. Think about who you can speak to – speaking to someone else who is struggling might not be best. Find somewhere quiet where you can sit down and chat openly and honestly about your feelings and your concerns. It is easy to get overwhelmed in our own pattern of negative thoughts, so talking these through can help break those cycles. Also, if you prefer, you can contact an emotional support service or if you are worried about your mental health, you can call a mental health helpline.
Focus on doing things you enjoy.
Making time in your day to do the things you enjoy is a good way to distract yourself from the news cycle. Take an hour out of your day to go for a walk or maybe find somewhere quiet to sit with a book. Turn off the TV and enjoy crossing off a few books from your reading list.
You might even want to look to see if there are any free courses available that you could take part in. Learning something new is a great way to stimulate the brain and tune out those anxious thoughts.
Try to eat and sleep well.
It is very easy to forget to have a well-balanced meal when stressed or anxious – but cooking can help detract from negative thoughts and ensure that you eat well. If you are not into cooking, then maybe ask a loved one or friend if they will help you. Sharing the task and talking about what you are cooking can help take your mind off your worries.
There are a lot of good websites that have simple recipes that you can follow. And after a good meal, don’t forget to wind down ready for bed. Spend at least an hour winding down from your day with the television or the internet turned off and unwind with a warm bath or maybe a book. If you are tempted to check the internet – be bold… turn off your router so you won’t be able to or leave your phone in another room.
Talk to your Doctor
Finally, if you find yourself trying to cope with extended periods of anxiety or stress, then speak to your doctor. Many doctors now offer telephone consultations – check with your doctor’s surgery to see if this is available where you live. There are also many mental health helplines available to support you at your time of need.