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Coronavirus and your wellbeing

07/04/2020

Coronavirus has changed life as we know it. Some of us will be facing loneliness and isolation. Others will be battling the stresses of lockdown, looking after young children or dealing with the significant strain of financial uncertainty. At times like this, mental health can be overlooked.

It’s completely understandable to be feeling worried, bored or angry during the COVID-19 crisis. We all process stress in different ways – and that’s okay. It can help to recognise that at times of anxiety, we’re vulnerable to harmful habits as we search for a sense of control or normality.

But while you may be tempted to spend money online shopping, drinking or gambling, or retreat into unhelpful habits, it’s worth considering the impact those decisions will have on your life in the long term. Remember: even during difficult times, it’s still possible to make positive choices.

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Reach out to friends and family

The measures you might usually rely on to help with anxiety, like a day out with the kids, meeting up with friends or enjoying some of your favourite hobbies may not be possible in the same way during lockdown. But you can still enjoy the company of others from home. You can always stay in touch by:

  • Setting up an online chat group for close friends.
  • Arranging virtual get-togethers, like game nights or book clubs.
  • Calling up a friend for a catch-up.
  • Checking out any community support groups that have been set up in your area online.
  • Finding ways to volunteer to help vulnerable local people.

It can also help to be mindful of the time you spend using social media and reading the news. While there are many positive aspects of platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you aren’t always in control of the updates that you see there.

If you do want to keep up to date with accurate, reliable news and information on the COVID-19 outbreak, you can find important information on gov.uk, NHS UK or the World Health Organization website.

Take care of your body

Your physical health can play a big part in your emotional outlook and mental wellbeing. If your daily routine has been disrupted by coronavirus, you may become more susceptible to drinking too much, smoking or eating unhealthily. All of these habits can have a knock-on effect on your finances.

But there are habits and routines you can cultivate for a positive outlook and healthy body, even when you’re spending more time at home than usual.

Healthy eating – Eating a balanced diet can help you stay well and fend off illness, according to the World Health Organization. Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts will help your body get the nutrients it needs. Even if you’re not going to work as usual, it can help to stick to set mealtimes and prepare food in batches for your family to avoid too many trips to the local supermarket and overspending.

Exercise ­­– It’s been shown time and again that exercise isn’t just a great way of boosting your physical health, it can also help you feel more mentally resilient when life gets tough. If you can get outside for the recommended daily exercise, even just for a walk or to get some fresh air, it will break up the day and help you bring back some structure to your life. If you can’t leave your home, there are loads of free exercises available on the NHS fitness studio – with options for every ability level, from belly dancing and chair Pilates to ab workouts and conditioning exercises.

Establish a routine ­­– Whether your day involves working from home, self-isolating or you’re looking after the kids, it’s critical to maintain some form of routine. There’s no golden rule for this, but if you can wake up and go to bed at roughly the same time, stick to set mealtimes, allocate a time for exercise and a time for rest, it can help you feel like you have more control over your life.

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Take care of your mind

It’s thought that one in four adults in the UK will be experiencing mental health issues at any given time, and statistically, that number is likely to be higher among those experiencing debt.

When it comes to wellbeing, caring for your mind is just as important as caring for your body. There are lots of little things you can do to give yourself a mental break and calm upsetting or erratic thoughts, including:

  • Controlled breathing
  • Meditation
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Getting a good night’s sleep

If you are finding negative thoughts overwhelming, or you’re struggling to manage on your own, there are organisations that can help, with free resources, information and support. Here are just a few you can reach out to if:

Take care of your finances

If you’re struggling for money, your finances have been affected by coronavirus or your life has been overshadowed by unresolved debt, it can help you feel a lot more positive to do something about it.

It’s especially important not to lapse into finance-harming habits. Don’t let boredom drive you to online gambling, online impulse buying or taking advantage of credit offers.

Instead, embrace the opportunities to save that spending more time at home affords you, and use this time wisely to take control of your money. Here are some simple, positive steps you can take today:

  • Create an emergency coronavirus budget.
  • Learn what support is out there for you, whether you’re employed, self-employed or on benefits.
  • Write down any money worries and make a plan to deal with them.

Don’t let debt be another strain on your wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak. Turn the situation around by speaking to a member of the Creditfix team. We can offer friendly, professional advice and support. Just pick up the phone to talk to one of our advisors on 0808 253 3299.

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