Psychologist shares tips on how to boost mental health during Covid-19 outbreak
A Sussex psychologist has been offering tips on how peopel can manage their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Tara Quinn-Cirillo of Horsham Psychology said although the outbreak can cause many worries, including a person’s job security, finances and coping with isolation, there is plenty that can be done to help.
She said: “For those who are experiencing emotional ill health as a result of the outbreak there are some things that may help, including limiting the amount of news you are reading, including social media. Think about having set times not to talk about COVID-19. Make sure the information that you are viewing is from a reputable source.”
Tara said people should try to eat healthily, exercise gently each day, have regular bedtimes and make time for themselves.
She added: “Try to connect with others you value.
“There are many wonderful mediums to do this, such as WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom and Houseparty.
“Try to set a routine at home. Simple things like wake and bedtimes, meal times, time for engaging in a task or work and times for relaxation. Exercise is great for mental health.”
Focusing on what you can control, not what you cannot, is key, according to Tara.
She said: “It is important to find the right coping style for you. Think about the kind of person you want to be in this situation and try and recognise when your anxiety may be affecting how you respond/behave.
“It is absolutely okay to feel the way you do. If you can recognise and ‘make room’ for difficult feelings it can help clearer thinking and decision making.”
But Tara also urged people to think about how they could help their family and community. She added: “Remember that it is understandable that self preservation may be dominant in the current situation and that looking after your needs may be what you can manage at this time.”
Director of psychology and psychological therapy at the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Dr Nick Lake said: “People will be worried about the impact of the disease on themselves, and their families and friends, not just in terms of health but in all the other ways it is changing our lives right now.
“It is more likely that people will suffer mental health problems because they may have lost things that normally keep us emotionally well. That’s why it is important that we can provide as much advice and guidance to support people where we can.”
Dr Tara Quinn-Cirillo