Keeping Families in MindSupport for military families in South Yorkshire Home KFIM Services Calendar Signposting Self Help Military Family Life Stories Message board FAQs Coping with Coronavirus It is important that during the Coronavirus pandemic that you look after yourself even more than usual. Below are 8 tips that can help keep your mental health in a relatively good place. Stay connected with people Try and maintain good relationships with the people you trust and can turn to. Often relatives may be away for extended periods of times and this can bring added pressures. If meeting in person is not an option then try and speak on the phone or if possible take part in video calls. Sometimes seeing a person on a screen can be much more beneficial that just listening to them over the phone. One of the main human needs is to be in contact with others, we are social beings. This is important during normal circumstances but is even more so now. Try and talk about how you’re feeling Again, this is essential during normal times but it is so crucial at the moment. For a lot of us going to work, going to the gym, socialising with friends or any other activity you did with others was a space to talk about how you’re feeling. Relationships can become very hard, we may find that talking about our own worries is putting upon our loved ones due to their own pressures of life e.g. serving away from home, but it is important to find an outlet for how you feel. Currently those avenues of contact are not as easily accessed which can lead to internalising our problems. Many people are not seeing their families as much, this may be due to them being deployed for longer times or there may be other restrictions. Despite the above we fully understand that it’s not always accepted to speak outside of the armed forces community. Support others One way we can feel better about ourselves is to help other people with their needs and concerns. This can be offering a listening ear or doing small jobs for people when they are stuck indoors, this could be going shopping for example. Genuinely helping others is a sure way to feel better about yourself. This good feeling can create a positive cycle which you can build on and build on. Maybe forming small social groups using video calling with other family members of service personnel could have mutual benefits. Look after your body It can be easy to forget about your physical health during a pandemic, it’s important to exercise when you can and to get out and breathe some fresh air. Maintaining a good diet is also crucial for your overall health during a pandemic. There is a tendency to eat more convenience foods and have more takeaways but that coupled with less exercise can lead to consequences for your health further down the line. It’s harder to eat well if you are living on your own when previously you may have cooked for others, trying to maintain that healthy lifestyle when you are alone can be hard. Do things you enjoy This can be really hard when places are not open and people who you may have normally done activities with may not be available for a number of reasons. Try and find something within your day that you find some joy in. Examples of this may be finding a local park and enjoying being in the nature and also being mindful of your surroundings and appreciate the beauty in things. Something else which you may enjoy would be to socialise at one of our support groups where you can speak to other families of the armed forces about how life as a family member is affecting them. Click Here to find out more about our monthly, online Craft and Writing Groups Try to feel less guilty This can be really hard for people, especially when they you’re unable to do the things you would normally do. One of the biggest examples of this is when people are working from home. It’s quite hard to work with the same output as you may have previously done in times before the virus. You may also find it hard to find motivation to look after your physical health. When you are kind to yourself and accept that things may not be how you would ideally want them you can find a level of peace. This feeling of having no solid foundations is very common at the moment. If you feel less guilty you are more likely to find the motivation to do the things you are really struggling with. If you are really hard on yourself the feelings of not doing enough will compound themselves and not result in you doing more. There is an added layer of potential unease which you may feel if you are a family member of a service person, you may feel guilty about having concerns in your own life when your family member may be away from home. It’s important to be aware that although you may be safe and at home you are still entitled to feel unhappy, anxious or upset without the added feeling of guilt. Keep some structure Having a good routine can be very beneficial, try to start your working day (if you’re normally working) by getting up at the same times and structure in breaks, lunch and time away from the screen. This will give you the feeling of control and allow you to plan your day in the most productive way. Linked to this is having a good sleep routine, it’s easier to let the time you go to bed to get later and later but eventually you will become way out of kilter and this won’t be helpful. Try to avoid drinking caffeine after 6pm as well as sugary items which will allow you to naturally drop off to sleep at a reasonable time. Have realistic expectations As lockdown eases it’s very easy to see people’s lives on social media and for us to interpret that everyone is having an amazing time in their life however what photos and status updates don’t show is the difficulty people may be having behind closed doors. It’s worth being mindful that you’re not always going to want to be out there doing all these things we’ve been deprived of for so long. It’s hard to accept that you may still want to do nothing even despite the fact that you may be ‘allowed’ to venture out. Sometimes just doing nothing in a day is enough and should be done guilt free.