COVID-19 : Taking care of your mental & emotional well-being
We know that living with and managing CGD or being an X-linked carrier can have an impact on your wellbeing and mental health. Many people will need emotional support or professional psychological counselling at some stage. This is especially true in regard to the current outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVIC-19) This is an uncertain time for us all leading to feelings of anxiety, feeling low, stressed or confused. If you are living with a chronic illness such as CGD those feelings can be exacerbated. Especially for those that are needing to self-isolate.
Looking after your emotional well-being
It is always important to discuss any emotional difficulties with your GP as they will be aware of local services. In addition to NHS services there are organisations that can either advise about or directly provide emotional support. It is so important for us all to look after our mental health in these uncertain times. Whether is it Mindfulness, Meditation or talking therapies we hope you can find some support from the following:
Stay connected. If you are self-isolating, carrying out shielding in your household or practising physical distancing, technology allows you to remain in touch with your loved ones and your community. Apps such as Zoom and Houseparty are face-to-face social networks that mean you can spend time with the people you care about in a shared virtual space. There are also lots of activities that can be enjoyed online – Zumba classes, book clubs, quiz groups and choirs to name a few.
Develop a routine. Come up with a routine that will work for you and those around you. Jot down all your usual daily activities (such as taking your medication, exercising and preparing meals) and any new responsibilities placed on you (such as home-schooling your children or working from home). Weave in tasks that will give you a sense of achievement, and set aside time to connect with others and do the things you enjoy.
Continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Try to follow a lifestyle that maximises your health. This means eating a balanced diet, getting a good night’s sleep and taking regular exercise. Be mindful of slipping into unhealthy behaviour as a way of coping with the situation. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, smoking or using recreational drugs.
Limit your exposure to the news. While it is important to stay informed of what is happening, make sure you access information from reputable sources only (e.g. Gov.uk, Health Protection Scotland, Public Health Wales and PID UK). Limit the amount of time you spend watching the news and avoid reading or watching news reports close to bedtime. Think about how you talk to your children about the situation. See our list of resources below.
Seek professional support (if needed). Talk to trusted family members and friends about your worries and concerns. Professional support is also available online – see below. If you are worried about your own emotional health, or that of a loved one, you can call the Samaritans, for free, on 116 123, talk to your GP, contact your local psychology service or, in an emergency, attend your local accident and emergency department.
Looking after your mental health
Lots of people are feeling anxious or struggling with their mental health at the moment and this may be especially so for those who are in the vulnerable groups contemplating the easing of shielding.
Here are some of our tips:
- Don’t make the virus the focus of your conversations with friends and family.
- Control what you can control and plan for how you will deal with situations that you may find difficult.
- Focus on the present and talk and share your anxiety and problems with coping with people who you trust
- Make sure you are looking after yourself, so you feel more able to cope with whatever happens.
- Learn and practice ways to calm yourself. This could be through doing some deep breathing exercises, thinking of a beautiful scene, a happy time etc.
- Only look at reliable sources of information, like the NHS and the websites for UK Government and devolved administrations.
- Limit your exposure to the news.
The Mental Health Foundation has a good list of tips to look after your mental health.
FAQ's for mental wellbeing
Q. I am finding it hard to cope with self-isolating. What advice can you give?
A. Our top tips are to stay connected with friends and family through apps such as Facetime, Zoom, Houseparty etc; sticking to some sort of routine gives you a sense of control so develop a routine and plan for your day; maintain a healthy lifestyle that involves some type of exercise, exercising will help you sleep better; limit you exposure to the news and social media etc. For more helpful information visit https://cgdsociety.org/covid-emotional-well-being/
Q. How can I explain what is happening with COVID to my children?
A. As we read from the charity Childline statistics children are being seriously impacted emotionally by the pandemic. Our advice is to make time to talk; find out what your children knows, explain COVID in a way your child understands and tune in to your child’s feelings. There are lots of great resources out there to help you to do this. Some can be found here:
Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
You can access a full list of resources at this webpage: https://cgdsociety.org/covid-emotional-well-being/
Q. I am worried that my partner is not coping well mentally with the current situation and is showing signs of depression. What should I do?
A. It is natural to feel a range of emotions, such as stress, worry, anxiety, boredom, or low mood. Many people feel distressed by the constant news and overwhelming amount of information at this time. However, if you feel he needs professional help encourage him to talk to his GP, contact the charity SANE http://www.sane.org.uk/, the charity MIND https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helplines/; the Samaritans (free phone number 116 113) or, in an emergency, attend your local accident and emergency department.
Q. Someone in my family is on the ‘frontline’ and the situation is clearly impacting badly on their mood and mental health. What can I do to support them?
A. Listening to them and acknowledging the strain they are under and saying that how they feel is perfectly normal and understandable are good starting points. You should ask them to contact and discuss how they are affected with their occupational health at work team as soon as possible. This support helpline has been set up specifically for NHS staff https://www.frontline19.com/. You should also encourage them to contact their GP for support.
Please find information on support services for mental health and wellbeing on this webpage: https://cgdsociety.org/covid-emotional-well-being/
Resources for adults
Other sources of helpful information and organisations are listed here:
Here's some a PDF with a pthelora of ideas from the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, to give you food for thought while in lockdown: Ideas for lockdown - 19.11.20
World Health Organization: Advice for coping with stress during the coronavirus outbreak
Mind: Coronavirus and your wellbeing
Mental Health Foundation: Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
Relate: Maintaining healthy relationships during the coronavirus outbreak
Free online mindfulness sessions:
Resources for carers of children and young people
World Health Organization: Helping children cope with stress during the coronavirus outbreak
Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families: Supporting young people’s mental health during periods of disruption
Emerging minds: Supporting children and young people with worries about COVID-19
Emerging minds: How can we best support children and young people with their worries and anxieties?
Emerging minds: How can we best support children and young people with their worries and anxieties? – Recommended resources
Page reviewed 18 January 2022