Protecting your mental health
This advice is taken from the Church of England website. They have more resources there. Whilst none of the clergy is mental health professional, we are all here to listen. Please feel free to call us.
Try to avoid speculation and look up reputable sources on the outbreak
Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control.
Try to stay connected
At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends and family or contact a helpline for emotional support. It is a good idea to stick to your daily routine. You may also like to focus on the things you can do if you feel able to: stress management keep active eat a balanced diet Stay in touch with friends on social media but try not to sensationalise things. If you are sharing content, use this from trusted sources, and remember that your friends might be worried too.
Talk to your children
Involving our family and children in our plans for good health is essential. We need be alert to and ask children what they have heard about the outbreak and support them, without causing them alarm.
We need to minimise the negative impact it has on our children and explain the facts to them. Discuss the news with them but try and avoid over-exposure to coverage of the virus. Be as truthful as possible. Let’s not avoid the ‘scary topic’ but engage in a way that is appropriate for them. We have more advice on talking with your children about world news.
Try to anticipate distress
It is normal to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the outbreak, especially if you have experienced trauma or a mental health problem in the past, or if you have a long-term physical health condition that makes you more vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health. We should also be aware of and avoid increasing habits that may not be helpful in the long term, like smoking and drinking. Try and reassure people you know who may be worried and check in with people who you know are living alone.
Try not to make assumptions
Don’t judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The Coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sex.
Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media
There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak. If you find that the news is causing you huge stress, it’s important to find a balance. It’s best that you don’t avoid all news and that you keep informing and educating yourself, but limit your news intake if it is bothering you.
How should people deal with being in self-isolation or in quarantine?
If there's a chance you could have coronavirus, you may be asked to stay away from other people (self-isolate). For people that are in self-isolation or are in quarantine, this may seem like a daunting prospect. It will help to try and see it as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it. It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual. Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you. Create a daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. You could try reading more or watching movies, having an exercise routine, trying new relaxation techniques, or finding new knowledge on the internet. Try and rest and view this as a new if unusual experience, that might have its benefits.ake sure your wider health needs are being looked after such as having enough prescription medicines available to you.
Looking after your spiritual health
It is important to look after your spiritual health as well as your physical and mental health. This is as important for clergy as lay people in these challenging times, when the danger is to be so busy looking after everyone else’s spiritual needs that we may forget our own. Find ways to pray, read the Bible, talk to other Christians maybe by phone. Your church has a pastoral team who can keep in touch and support you, details on the home page. Maybe you could buddy with someone as a prayer partner etc.