Psy­chol­o­gist shares tips on how to boost men­tal health dur­ing Covid-19 out­break

West Sussex County Times - - Health - Sam Dixon-French ct.news@jpi­me­dia.co.uk Twit­ter: @samd­fjour­nal­ist

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.”

CON­TRIB­UTED BY DR TARA QUINN-CIR­ILLO

Dr Tara Quinn-Cir­illo

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