Staying at home because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can be a daunting and worrying time but help and support is available.
Knowsley Public Health has updated its 10 Ways to Wellbeing advice to help you and your family look after your mental health and wellbeing whilst staying at home.
With ideas on how to encourage your children to talk about their feelings and suggestions on ways to keep in touch with others, plus ideas to keep the whole family active in and around the house, it has lots of really helpful information.
Cllr Sean Donnelly, Knowsley Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “During these challenging times, it’s more important than ever that we look after our mental health and wellbeing, which is why we’ve updated our 10 Ways to Wellbeing. Our guide provides tips and advice on positive things you can do to help keep yourself and your family emotionally well during this difficult time.”
Talk about your feelings
When you’re feeling anxious or worried, especially during these uncertain times, it can help to talk to someone about how you’re feeling and to encourage your children to do the same.
You could try to encourage your children to tell you how they are feeling on a scale of 1-10 (1 being low, worried, angry, etc. and 10 being happy, optimistic, etc.) Using this simple method can help you to uncover what is sometimes hidden. If their number is low ask them what’s making them feel that way and what would help to improve the situation.
Keep in touch with others
Keeping in touch with friends and family helps us feel connected and it’s so simple with a phone call, video call or sending a message. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people as you won’t be the only person feeling worried at this time. Make the first move to let them know you care.
Why not encourage the children to make a card or poster for their grandparents and share it with them over video call or send it to them in the post to brighten their day.
There are lots of positive online communities, where children and young people can connect with each other and chat and share things they’re interested in. But remind them that they need to stay safe online and not to get involved in anything which may be harmful to them or others and to let someone they trust know if this happens.
When you’re not home schooling there are lots of family-friendly activities which you can do together at home. You could try planning a meal and making it together, or simply try out a new recipe together
Use the time to re-read a favourite book or check out the thousands of eBooks and eAudioBooks available free from Knowsley Library Service
If you’re looking for ways to help your children build their resilience you may find this toolkit for primary school aged children helpful.
Try to build activity into each day, there’s lots you can do as a family in and around the home, from dancing around the kitchen to favourite songs to playing with a ball or skipping rope in the garden.
The Change4Life website has Disney inspired indoor games for younger children or search online for the many You Tube workouts aimed at all the family.
You could make a list of all those things you’ve been meaning to do and get started on them; perhaps doing the garden or sorting out the kitchen cupboards, these are all activities which will help to keep you moving. You can find ideas for home exercises for all abilities on the NHS website.
Remember, if you or your family don’t have any coronavirus symptoms, social distancing guidelines enable you to go outside to exercise once a day as long as you keep 2 meters (approx. 6ft) apart from others who are not members of your household group.
Eating a healthy diet is not only important for our bodies and our weight, it’s important for looking after our minds. A regular healthy, balanced diet can help improve our mood, energy levels and help us to think more clearly. Try to avoid snacking on unhealthy foods such as chocolate and biscuits.
Change4Life website has lots of ideas for healthy snacks and simple, quick recipes for you to make and get the family involved with too.
Ask for help
It’s okay to ask for help if you’re struggling to cope during these worrying times. Your family, friends or work colleagues may be able to offer some practical help or a listening ear.
For young people aged 11-19, Kooth offers free, safe, anonymous online support.
A new Coronavirus Community Support and Volunteer Line has been created for Knowsley residents needing additional support during the outbreak and for those wanting to volunteer their time or services to help those in need in their local community.
If you’re worried support is still be available from a range of helplines (listed below). Always call 999 in an emergency.
Making time to organise and plan your days can help you feel in control of things. Try to stick to your normal family routine as much as you can within the guidelines. It can also help to wake up and go to bed at the same time as usual, which can also help you and all the family get a better night sleep.
Spending so much time together will naturally be frustrating and might create tension between you and those you live with. You can defuse difficult situations by walking away from arguments until everyone starts to feel calmer.
Accept what you can’t control
If you’re feeling overwhelmed try to focus on a few things that you can control such as planning some home-based exercises for everyone to get involved with, planning your meals for the week or planning activities for the kids outside of their home-schooling activities. Try as well to limit how often you check news updates to once or twice a day.
Try focusing your attention on the positive, those simple things that happen day to day which can help make a difference to how we feel. You could discuss as a family the things that have given you pleasure or something that you have learnt that day.
Care for yourself and others
If you or a family member are feeling anxious or worried, it can help to gather your thoughts and feelings by writing them down in a diary or note-book. You could encourage your children to do the same.
Yoga and breathing techniques can help to ease anxiety and there are lots of free apps you can download and YouTube videos you can watch which show you how, not only for adults of all ages and abilities but for children and young people too. If this isn’t your thing then just finding moments to listen to music or sit outside in the garden to find calmness in the present moment can help.
Drinking enough water is good for your mental and physical health. It can help to flush out waste and toxins, keeps the skin healthy and can help with concentration. It can also help to prevent water infections, headaches, constipation, as well as dizziness and confusion which could lead to falls.
We should aim to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses/mugs of fluid a day, water is always best, but tea/coffee and most non-alcoholic fluids also count.
Where to get further support
For all non-urgent queries concerning mental health and emotional wellbeing you can contact.
Children and young people:
• Your GP.
• Online support from Kooth for 11-19 year-olds.
• Childline is for children and young people under the age of 19 and is available online or on the phone anytime. Visit the website Childline or Call 0800 1111.
• Young Minds website has some really useful advice for children and young people.
• Papyrus is for people under the age of 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide or for anyone concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide. Call 0800 068 4141.
• Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – also known as CAMHS – work with young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties, and their families. If you think you would benefit from support from CAMHS, make an appointment to see your GP, who will be able to make a referral to our service for you.
• Your GP.
• Think Wellbeing offers free NHS online therapy for adults in Knowsley with common mental health problems like anxiety or depression, to help you change the way you feel by changing the way you think.
• The NHS’ Every Mind Matters website has published useful guidance around looking after your mental health particularly whilst staying at home. It provides useful tips on planning ahead, keeping in touch with others and dealing with anxiety.
• Samaritans has some useful information on their website. Or if you need to talk to someone you can call: 116 123.