Many people feel anxious about the coronavirus pandemic. Updates to government guidance and uncertainty about the future can add to the stress and worry of the situation.
Taking social distancing, self-isolation and other protective measures might have brought a change of routine, lowered physical activity and reduced social interaction. There might also have been changes to any support you receive with daily living, ongoing care arrangements and medication, and this disruption can have a significant impact on your mental wellbeing and stress levels.
As the government updates restrictions, guidelines and support schemes, it can be challenging to adapt. We give some basic tips below to help you look after your mental wellbeing.
You might also be interested in our video: How to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which Helen DeMarco, Clinical and Health Psychologist discusses the psychological aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some people feel worried about attending medical appointments; your hospital should have information about the additional measures in place to help keep you and others safe. If you feel worried about attending an appointment you've been invited to, speak to a member of your medical team. You might also be interested in our information about changes to your treatment due to COVID-19.
Leading a healthy lifestyle
There are simple things you can do that might help you stay well during this time. For example:
- Try to build structure into your life, even if it differs from your usual routine.
- Find physical activity exercises you can do at home on the NHS website.
- Spend time doing things you enjoy – this might include reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to favourite radio programmes or watching TV.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs.
- If you are spending more time indoors, open windows to let in fresh air and get some natural sunlight.
- Communicate with family and friends, whether this is in person, by phone, online or by post. Tell them how you're feeling.
- Focus on the things you can control, for example, who you speak to and, as far as you’re able, how you spend your time.
- Limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to media coverage if it adds to your worry. It might help to only check the news at set times or a couple of times a day, keeping up-to-date with the latest government guidance
- Try meditation techniques, such as mindfulness, or breathing exercises to help manage stress. Some of the techniques on our page on managing stress involve face-to-face interaction, so are not appropriate at this time.
Relationships with family and friends
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in changes to the way many of us interact. There might be tensions within your relationships with family and friends; for example, people might differ in their understanding of government guidance and how they follow it. As lockdown restrictions ease, loved ones might be eager to spend time with you in person but perhaps you don’t yet feel comfortable with this. This can bring up a range of emotions, for example anxiety, stress, and sometimes resentment towards others who might feel less vulnerable than them. You might find it helpful to read guidance about what you can do to help protect yourself.
If you are struggling with your mental health, you might find the following organisations helpful:
- Every Mind Matters provides simple tips and advice to take care of your mental health, including while staying at home.
- Mental Health Foundation has information and resources to help you look after your mental health, including podcasts and videos.
- Mind also has lots of tips to help you look after your wellbeing while you are staying at home.
- Samaritans and Samaritans Scotland have information if you're worried about your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak, including practical ways to help yourself cope.
- GOV.UK has covid-19 guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing.
- The CovidWellbeingNI online hub provides information, self-help guides and access to mental health and wellbeing support for people in Northern Ireland.
- SAMH (the Scottish Association for Mental Health) has a coronavirus mental health information hub.
- NHS Inform has information about coronavirus and mental health for people in Scotland.
- Breathing Space is confidential phoneline for people in Scotland who are feeling low, anxious or depressed. Call free on 0800 83 85 87.
- The CALL Helpline is a dedicated mental health helpline for Wales. Call 0800 132 737, or text ‘help’ to 81066.
If you continue to feel low after a couple of weeks and it is affecting your daily life, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. If you are in crisis, call the Samaritans on 116 123.
If you are facing bereavement, whether through the coronavirus or any other cause, this is likely to be an extremely difficult time – you might feel cut off from your usual support network, and changes to funerals can bring further challenges. Find out how we can support you at this time. You might also like to add a tribute on our online dedication page. Cruse Bereavement Care also have information for people who are dealing with bereavement and grief during the coronavirus pandemic. If you'd like to be in touch with a bereavement counsellor, GriefChat offers bereavement counselling in various formats, free of charge.
If you, or someone close to you, is nearing the end of life with lymphoma, you might be concerned about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect your care. Macmillan Cancer Support has information on the end of life and coronavirus.
Talk to us
We appreciate what a difficult and worrying time this is for many people affected by lymphoma, including family members and friends of those with a lymphoma diagnosis. If you’d like to talk, you can contact our Helpline Services on freephone 0808 808 5555 from 10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, or via Live Chat through our website. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although we can’t give medical advice about your own situation, we can offer a listening ear and general information about lymphoma.