MindHug in the time of COVID-19

MindHug in the time of COVID-19

Streets empty, supermarket shelves bare, essentials being rationed, daily updates from the government, senses on high alert, borders closed, people in quarantine, people isolated at home. The scenes we see today could be right out of a movie.

It seems only natural that the general atmosphere coupled with the growth in self isolation and working from home could take a toll on one’s mental health. Here at MindHug, we care about your happiness and wellbeing.

Here is an update from us on the situation and some information that can help you stay healthy during this unsettling period.

Right off the bat, do not panic. This may sound like a cliché, but it is all important. And the honest truth is there is plenty of reason to act but no reason to panic. Human experience is full of examples of illness and suffering. But the human spirit, together with knowledge, science and the will to overcome makes us resilient and capable of dealing with adversity. Challenges like these also plant the seeds for self-development, personal growth and compassion. Science as well as all faiths tell us of the temporary nature of suffering. It is normal to feel anxious, depressed or uneasy — but remember it shall pass.

Simple precautions and steps

We can all take steps to limit the chances of catching and/or spreading the virus. We highlight these below:

· Personal hygiene: Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitisers and practice usual good personal hygiene.

· Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth: Hands touch all sorts of things and surfaces. As far as possible keep them away from openings of the body.

· Respiratory hygiene: Cover your cough or sneeze with a bent elbow or tissue. Avoid covering with hands as they are more likely to touch other people as well as other surfaces.

· Social distancing: Maintain at least 2m (6 feet) distance from yourself and anyone else who is coughing or sneezing.

· Monitor symptoms. If you feel even slightly unwell self-isolate and stay at home for 7 days. If there is more than one member in the household, all household members should isolate for 14 days from the day the first person began to experience symptoms. If you start to experience severe symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing call NHS111 before visiting your GP or hospital. In the case of an emergency contact 999.

· Avoid unnecessary public gatherings and travel. Self-isolate as described above if you are returning from a high-risk country.

· Stay informed about developments about COVID-19 and follow the guidelines of your governments, National and local health authorities and/or employer

How can we stay mentally healthy and happy during this period?

Many of us are working from home, or otherwise self-isolating and reducing face to face social interactions during this period. It is therefore extra important to pay attention to our mental wellbeing. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published its guidance on how to improve mental wellbeing during this period. Some of our suggestions are listed below.

Participate in experiential activities and therapies

At MindHug, we believe experiential activities can have an enormous positive impact on people’s wellbeing. Join our mailing list to try therapeutic art, music, nature walks meditation, breathing and yoga. In this time of being home bound, our plan is to offer digital workshops and therapies for the benefit of everyone.

Avoid triggers

If the news, social media or other information sources are proving to be a cause of mental discomfort, it is wise to avoid these. We are inundated with diverse, sensationalist and often conflicting news and views. The situation requires us to take precautions. But there is no need whatsoever to take on additional stress.

Be kind and beware of stigma

As long as you are taking necessary precautions be kind to yourself and others around you. We may have a tendency to stigmatise people such as healthcare workers and recent travellers. It is important we treat ourselves and each other with compassion and respect, especially if there is no indication of risk. Remember we are in this together.

Be accepting and make new goals

Chances are that we will need to alter the way we work and interact with each other for now. Be open and accepting of these changes. In fact, treat the changes as an opportunity. Use the extra commuting time saved to go for a walk, for instance. Play with the kids or even meditate. Make a list of new goals — small and big — in this altered environment. Give yourself the pleasure and adventure of trying to meet these new goals. This is an unpleasant phase but it shall pass.

Balanced diet and living

We are what we eat. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet. Get your five portions of fruits and vegetables. Avoid alcohol, recreational drugs and caffeine. Remember to drink plenty of water, rest, sleep, take breaks and exercise. A walk in the fresh air of the emerging spring can be rejuvenating. Basic stretching, yoga, Pilates can also be done at home.

Maintain social networks and reach out

Remember to stay in touch with family and friends. If you can’t meet them, use technology. Technology can cut both ways. Make sure you use technology to reach out and not to get isolated. Check in with each other and reach out to someone if you feel stressed, anxious or depressed. Be there for others too.

Have MindHug moments

Focus on the present moment. The news and situation may push us towards thinking of the past and worrying about the future. But check in with the present moment. You are here, we are here, we know what to do, we have help, and we will get through this together.

We would love to hear from you. Get in touch. Give us feedback on how we can help. Give us your ideas.