Strategies & advice
This page will continue to develop over time so check back for new ideas, support, encouragement and more!
Feeling anxious right about now probably puts you in the majority compared to people who aren't! Whether its coronavirus or something else on your mind, we know that anxiety can have a habit of becoming all consuming, affecting your daily life hugely and having physical impacts on your body too, such as increased heart rate, restlessness and difficulty sleeping.
If at any point you start to feel increasingly anxious and perhaps like your mind is in overdrive, here's a quick exercise you can do to physically relax your body and focus on something simple...
take 11 deep, steady breaths in, exhaling normally after each, and then another 7 breaths focusing on long, steady exhalation.
As you do this, consciously relax your shoulders and try to release any tension (have a jump, shake or a wiggle if that helps!)
By the time you've finished this task, you'll hopefully feel that your mind is less busy, you are calmer and the panic has diffused.
> - this is a great video addressing anxiety surrounding coronavirus specifically, highlighting important things to remember to reduce worry and tips on how to cope if you are anxious about it like many of us are.
> - this short video from Childline looks at managing stress and anxiety. After watching, if you'd like to talk to someone about it, go to the How we can support you page for ways to contact us.
> - simple things to do if your having a bout of anxiety or a panic attack.
Try feeling focusing - this is a simple way to calm anxiety where by you focus your mind on the part of your body where your anxiety is producing physical symptoms eg stomach, shoulders, chest, throat. As you focus on it, breathe deeply and slowly for as long as it takes for your anxiety to diffuse for you to feel calmer and more relaxed again.
> Keep busy! Although this can seem tricky given the isolation we're all in, try and make a timetable for your day so you can plan what you're going to do and fill your time. This can include exercise, hobbies, down time, cooking/ eating, speaking to friends, playing games and anything else you can think of, but make sure you don't have lots of empty spaces where your mind may start to get busy overthinking.
> Stay active - whilst you need to adopt social distancing, as long as your not actually ill, its safe to go for a walk/ run outside in open spaces where there are few/ no people around. You can also try indoor exercises to such as yoga, aerobics and pilates and there are lots of great youtube videos you can search up that take you through a session on any of these.
>Actively stay in touch with people and maybe get in contact with someone you've lost touch with. This will not only benefit you and give you a social outlet, but most likely the other person involved will also benefit from conversation and social contact :)
> Download the Stress and Anxiety Companion app and use this as a tool for relaxation and distressing anytime, anywhere.
Even if you are completely isolated from everybody and are stuck in one room, there are still ways to keep your body fit and active. Keeping well in the current circumstances is important not only because a healthy body can fight off any infection more effectively, but also because by staying active and feeling healthy, you may well be less worried as you feel more confident you can recover quickly from the virus if you were to contract it.
Examples of ways to stay active...
> go for walk/ run in open spaces where there are few people and maintain social distance
> follow youtube video routines for exercises to strengthen your body
> give pilates or yoga a go - youtube again!
> make your own fun exercise routine with literally anything that gets your heart pumping and gets you a little out of breath. This could be anything from doing star jumps as high as you can, doing hardcore step ups and squats, or putting on your favourite song and having a boogie!
> If you have a bike you could go for a cycle (again staying away from people)
If you find other fun ways to exercise whilst self isolating - let us know and we'll spread the word!
KEEPING THAT BUSY BRAIN OCCUPIED
With all this spare time, uncertainty and lack of social contact, anybody could become susceptible to anxiety, overthinking, frustration etc. A widely agreed upon suggestion is that you plan out your day and give yourself structure in an otherwise currently rather chaotic world.
> keep in touch with people - video chat, phone call, text ...
> maybe have a clear out, declutter or spring clean
> learn a new skill like an instrument, cooking, make up, craft, woodwork (google has lots of ideas!)
> even though getting a job at the moment will be tricky, its a great opportunity to update/ build your CV, practice interview technique etc - we can help with this - get in touch!
> review movies/ books
> make tik tok videos
> start a vlog or blog
STRENGTHENING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Young minds has a really helpful and constructive page all about mental health whilst in isolation - click here to visit
There are lots of different organisations you can contact for confidential support and advice if you are struggling with your mental health, stress, worry about money or your job, family difficulties etc and these are noted at the bottom of this page.
We would really encourage you to use all the spare time you now have in isolation in a positive way, and push back against the negative spiral of worry etc that can come your way in this situation.
> If you've been stressed at work and now have time off, look at it that way. take the time to destress, process any concerns you had and perhaps catch up on work load if you were under a lot of pressure before.
> If you've been studying for exams which have now been cancelled, we totally understand you may feel a mixture of emotions and feeling, but try to look at the benefits of the scenario and enjoy the reduction in work load.
> If your in a situation where perhaps self isolating isn't changing your daily routine much because you were previously in a place where you weren't doing much, didn't have a job, were lacking motivation or having mental or physical health difficulties that meant you didn't get out and about much, look at it from this perspective. For starters, many many people are now in a similar situation and experiencing isolation which may give you some comfort in knowing your not alone. And also, there are now endless reasons to get up and start making positive decisions. It may be you'd feel uplifted by helping someone else. There are volunteer groups you can search up and join to help people who have the virus or are in isolation with things such as grocery shopping, animal care, or social contact for the elderly who may be isolated along and feeling lonely/ worried. Actively keep in touch with friends, share resources, start spreading awareness of ways people can reduce the risk of contracting/ spreading the virus, support local businesses if you order food etc.
TAKE SOME TIME TO DO THINGS YOU ENJOY
Although coronavirus is bad news, there may just be a silver lining. This is the perfect time to do things you enjoy without needing an excuse. take the opportunity to do some of the things you always wished you had time for. Pamper yourself, take long baths if that's what you enjoy, sleep in a little longer and perhaps even though you are at home, treat it like a holiday. Changing your mindset from 'I have to stop doing these things' to 'I have time do do these things now' could really benefit you. Give it a go!
WAYS TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH PEOPLE
With modern technology most of you guys will know and have a preferred way to contact people. Even though you're not seeing people in person, you can still arrange things to do like you would usually. Have a meal over video chat, watch a movie simultaneously, play games, race each other at patience (if you don't know how to play, google knows!), talk through your day, how you're feeling about the situation and ny worries you have. Getting things off your chest will likely give you some feeling of relief.
OTHER HELPFUL PAGES TO LOOK AT FOR POSITIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE ADVICE/ SUPPORT
Make sure you follow our Instagram page @yiryouth and Facebook where we will post regularly and create a feed of positive, entertaining, supportive and informative content to help you through this pandemic. Go Go Go!
The following organisations provide free support, advice etc and they also have further information and advice on how to cope with self isolation, mental health, finance and any wider concerns.
> Childline - if you're 18 years or younger
> The Mix
> Citizens Advice - money and work worries