How to keep mentally well during self-isolation
With more people being asked to self-isolate to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, experts are highlighting the importance of checking in on your mental, as well as physical, health.
The warnings come after the World Health Organisation (WHO) published new guidance to help those dealing with stress and poor mental health during the outbreak.
According to the health body, those in self-isolation should take steps to avoid watching, reading or listening to news that could cause you to feel anxious or distressed.
Instead, those affected should source technical information from recognised experts, such as WHO, at certain times throughout the day.
The organisation has also called on people to seek information to take “practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones”.
But Anxiety UK expert, Nicky Lidbetter, says “the fear of the unknown” could be what is triggering anxiety in people – even those without existing mental health conditions.
“It is well established that for many that live with anxiety, a common characteristic is that of having an ability to tolerate uncertainty. The current situation with coronavirus has clearly created a lot of uncertainty which might be difficult for those with pre-existing anxiety conditions such as health anxiety to manage,” she said.
This is a view echoed by mental health charity Mind, which has published its own guidance to help combat poor mental health.
“A lot of anxiety is rooted in worrying about the unknown and waiting for something to happen – coronavirus is that on a macro scale,” said spokesperson Rosie Weatherley.
Public health experts have also called attention to those suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), with excessive handwashing and safety advice likely taking a toll on routines.
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