(Updated 02.06.2020)

The coronavirus pandemic is understandably leaving many of us feeling worried and anxious about the future. We have put together this web page to collate helpful advice and information about looking after yourself and your mental well-being during this uncertain time. It will be updated regularly with new content, and we hope that you find it helpful.

Linda Brady, one of our counsellors, has recorded some simple meditation practices which you can enjoy in your own time.

  • The first is a three minute breathing exercise
  • The second is a meditation for feeling as safe as you reasonably can
  • The third is a grounding exercise that you may find useful

Linda has taken the time to share some ideas to help you stay connected throughout this time. She explained: ‘We know many of you will be missing the physical connection between you and your family and friends – that face-to-face contact that we often take for granted.’ Read Linda’s advice now.

Linda has also highlighted support available from Action for Happiness. She said: ‘They produce monthly “coping calendars” which suggest actions that we can take to look after ourselves and each other. You can sign up to get each month’s calendar sent to you. There’s also an app for mobile phones that might be helpful.’ Visit the website to find out more.

Ann Burgoyne, who usually runs a weekly mindfulness meditation class at Blythe House, got in touch to offer a breathing practice called the ‘3 minute breathing space.’ She explained: ‘It uses a short acronym AGE to help remember how it goes. We use this sometimes to start our Wednesday evening meditation group at Blythe House.’

Pause whatever you are doing, eyes can be open or closed…

  • 1st Minute – A – Become Aware of the activity of the mind (thoughts, thinking, etc.), feelings and sensations in the body
  • 2nd Minute – G – Gather the awareness in to rest on your breathing and each breath as it happens
  • 3rd Minute – E – Expand your awareness out to notice the whole body and the space around your body.

‘Notice how you are at the end of the practice and if you feel you need to calm a little more simply rest your awareness on the next three breaths, breathing right to the end of each of the outbreaths. At the end of the third outbreath, let go and allow the breathing to gently settle back into it’s natural rhythm and move into the rest of your day. Do this as openly as you need or wish through the day.’

  • The Wellness Society have published a free Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook to help manage stress and anxiety during this period of global uncertainty. Download it for free now.
  • There are lots of free meditations readily available on YouTube to help support anxiety, worry or stress. Search here.
  • The Mindfulness Association is currently offering a free daily online meditation, 7pm-7.30pm, followed by a chat until 8pm. It’s a great way of getting a sense of connection to others.
  • Two well-known apps Headspace and Calm are both offering free content at the moment including meditations, soothing music, sleep exercise and stories.
  • Look out for online exercise classes that are being offered by personal trainers and gyms – including yoga, Pilates or more intensive workouts.
  • Enjoy a walk in the fresh air, whilst practicing social distancing.
  • Turning a mountain into hills – a useful article by Charlotte Walker who considers what she can and cannot control throughout the pandemic, and explains: ‘I hope it inspires you to think about your own mountain and how you could come up with your own version of more manageable hills.’
  • Tolerating uncertainty – by Carol Vivyan’s may be useful. She explains: ‘When we are anxious, we tend to over-estimate the danger, and the odds, of bad things happening, and we under-estimate our ability to cope if or when those bad things happen. Even if the odds are really small that a bad thing will happen, that tiny chance is enough to really upset us. We call it “intolerance of uncertainty”.’
  • Coronavirus: How to look after your self-care in these uncertain times – a very useful article from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
  • Mind have information on their website if you are worried about coronavirus and how it could affect your life. This may include being asked to stay at home or avoid other people. Find out more.
  • Helpful content including videos about emotional health and well-being during this time, from Derbyshire County Council.
  • Catherine Serjeant, art therapy coordinator in our Living Well service, said: ‘The arts are a wonderful solace in times of trouble. So many times, I have heard people say how you forget all your troubles while being absorbed with crafts and arts. Now every morning I’m absorbed with an pictorial diary. I’m painting, drawing, collaging, writing.  You don’t have to be brilliant at it, just have a go and learn to laugh at yourself. How about keeping a diary of all the cooking and eating you’re doing including drawing or painting, crayoning, printing. If you find your taste buds have gone or you’re not feeling like eating, write or draw your frustrations… ‘the Frustration Monster!’ The ‘What If Monster’ is another idea to portray. It could perhaps be a 3D structure! Use stuff out of your garage or shed. Keep a scrapbook. Weave a wall hanging. Print with potatoes or just let your pencil have a wonderful doodle!’
  • Future Learn has courses available to help you manage your own mental health and support others who are struggling during this time. Find out more.

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