Around 75% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope, according to the Mental Health Foundation.
The negative impact of COVID-19 has rippled through every facet of society. Millions of Britons are experiencing social, financial and psychological levels of stress and it is damaging to both our mental and physical health. For many people, the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus is the hardest thing to handle. We still don’t know exactly how we’ll be affected, how long this will last or how bad things might get. And that makes it all too easy to catastrophise and spiral into overwhelming dread and panic. Public health actions, such as social distancing, are necessary to reduce the spread of coronavirus, but they can make us feel isolated and lonely, and can add to stress and anxiety.
There are a number of ways that your body and mind show stress. Some common signs are:
• Emotionally – anxiety, fear, grief, irritability and sadness
• Physically – heart disease, immune system and digestive problems, insomnia, tension and fatigue
• Thinking – racing thoughts, worry, persistent worry, and a negative thought, called rumination
• Behaviours – avoidance, social withdrawal, seeking reassurance, and excessive checking,
which is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are ways that you can help yourself, however if you are feeling overwhelmed on a regular basis you should speak to a doctor who can refer you to a specialist, if needed.
Top tips for coping with stress:
• Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. It’s good to be informed, but hearing about the pandemic constantly can be upsetting. Consider limiting news to just a couple times a day and disconnecting from phone, television, and computer screens for a while.
• Take care of your body:-
– Take deep breaths, stretch, meditate
– Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals
– Exercise regularly
– Get plenty of sleep
– Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco and substance use
– Continue with routine medical preventive measures (such as vaccinations, cancer screenings, etc.) as recommended by your healthcare provider
• Make time to unwind – try to do some other activities you enjoy
• Connect with others – talk to people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling
• Engage with your community and/or faith-based organisations. While social distancing measures are in place, try connecting online, through social media or by phone or mail.
At Private GP Extra, patients have access to highly experienced GPs across the North West of England, at a time to suit them. Our doctors provide a personalised service, with continuity of care for every person, and can also offer a smooth and rapid onward referral to a specialist, if required. To book an appointment with one of our GPs, please visit https://www.privategpextra.com/appointments/ or call 0161 428 4464.
We also offer a Nutrition Service, find out more here – https://www.privategpextra.com/nutrition-private-gp-extra/