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The times are unprecedented and uncertain. The effects of uncertainty on mental health can be profound.

Michelle Clark is mental health professional in both Nantwich and Crewe.

She wanted to reach out to the community and offer some help with tips on how to help ourselves through very difficult and challenging times, including the likelihood of quarantine soon.

Being in quarantine is going to test our behaviour patterns, internal thoughts and feelings.

It will be challenging. Mental health issues will become exacerbated or possibly become present where they weren’t before.

People have predicted that relationships will become strained as they do over extended holiday

The two main areas that most mental health professionals encounter with clients are anxiety and depression.

Anxiety is highly prevalent. What is it?

It’s perceived fear and produces a sense of running away or freeze. This fear produces a surge in adrenalin and brings about many body and behavioural changes.

Such as increased heart rate, over alertness, becoming sweaty/clammy, dry mouth, change in appetite, agitation, anger and frustration.

Depression has underlying factors but generally having a sense of losing control from our lives.

Depression manifests itself in some of these ways – a drop in mood, lack of motivation, seeing no joy, crying, change in appetite. Sleeping too much. Suicidal thoughts in more deepened moods.

The darkness of the Coronavirus cloud hangs over all of us. The grey clouds may feel over-whelming.

What can we do to help ourselves whilst we weather the storm? Getting back some sense of control and distracting our anxious mind.

Open the curtains and windows in the morning allowing fresh air in to your home.

Let the morning sun enter your home, even on grey days.

Morning sunlight has found to help regulate mood and sleeping patterns.

If you have a garden/backyard try to hang out there. Extra vitamin D will help.

Create set meal times. Be flexible and if possible, change the food at mealtimes.

Beans on toast is okay but may wane if it’s made every night.

Some level of endurance is probably required for the stark cupboards many may have.

Look for recipes that may help with the basic ingredients you have.

Respecting each other’s space if you live with others. At times it will be fraught.

We can’t just slam the door and walk out or go for that drive.

Try to create designated spaces in the home that are a certain person’s space. Usually

If people share a bedroom, then, maybe another room becomes someone’s for certain hours of the day.

Ask yourself would I speak to my friend the way I am speaking to my partner/children/housemate right now? Arguments maybe present.

Like a shaken bottle of coke. Let the fizz settle before you attempt to release the cap.

Conference time. Everyone gets to be heard and allowed to speak.

Grievances may be brewing about who finished off the digestives. During this time too,
allow emotional support.

Let the angry words be said (fear is coming out) and the tears to roll. Allow yourself to share yours too.

Being creative relaxes the mind. It is the perfect tonic to the anxiety feelings or the grieving for our old lives.

Make that music/artwork/writing/DIY project that’s always been on hold but obviously with the resources you have.

Get creative with children. They can be your guide. Unconventional but maybe have wall to draw pictures/journal/express words on. It’s the doing that helps.

Reading allows the imagination to be fed. Pick up that book/magazine you said you would get around to reading. You will feel lighter.

Prop each other up. If you live alone be brave and accept that phone call that has been offered for a chat.

You might be surprised and even enjoy it.

Practise mindfulness. There are lots of apps and information on the internet.

Stay connected and compassionate.

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