NHS Lanarkshire’s Psychological Services have issued helpful advice about managing anxiety as a result of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
Health boards and health and care staff across Scotland have been understandably focusing on ensuring hospital and community services are prepared for the expected increase in cases.
Psychological Services also want to remind people of the importance of looking after their own and others’ mental health during this stressful time.
NHS Lanarkshire Director of Psychological Services, Dr Gary Tanner, explained: “The first thing to say is that it’s perfectly normal to be feeling stressed or anxious right now.
“The vast majority of us will never have experienced anything like this before.
“But there are small steps we can each take which can help us cope much better with anxious thoughts and feelings.”
The NHS Lanarkshire Psychologists’ guidance can be found online at: https://www.nhslanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk/novel-corona-virus-covid-19/managing-anxiety/
It highlights the very normal physical feelings that come with anxiety, which include a racing heart, chest pain, sweatiness and a shortness of breath.
It also points out how one of the big problems right now is uncertainty – something human beings find very difficult to cope with.
While we can’t simply switch off our anxious thoughts and feelings, there are simple things we can do in response which can make a big difference.
For example, eating healthily, exercising and sticking to a sleep routine are all important.
Staying in touch with people we like and trust also matters. Phone calls, messages and video calls are good ways of doing this – even if we’re having to self-isolate.
Dr Tanner added: “One of the most important things we can do at this time is be kind – to ourselves, and to others.
“Being kind to others makes us feel good about ourselves as well.”
For those currently seeing an NHS Lanarkshire mental health professional, teams will keep you updated about any changes to appointments.
Some steps you can take to manage stress/anxiety:
- Learn how to breathe which can make a big difference. Visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/ways-relieve-stress/
- To find out more about stress visit: http://www.elament.org.uk/self-help-resources/#?topic=Stress%2c1168
- See also: https://stresscontrolaudio.com/home
- Use trusted sources for information and avoid constant use of social media.
- See also: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/
- Please remember GPs and other NHS staff are extremely busy just now. Sites such as www.nhsinform.scot and www.nhslanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk have lots of self-help tips about managing anxiety and low mood.