COVID-19 Anxieties & Fears 🌹
We all know that continually hearing about COVID-19 can be extremely triggering, so please make sure to keep talking and seek help as and when you need it. We’ve been working with @drfrankiejs to help get your queries answered.
Q&A with Dr Frankie Jackson-Spence
Hi, my name is Dr Frankie Jackson-Spence. I’m an NHS junior doctor and I’m here with TALA to answer all of your questions and ease some of your anxieties about COVID-19.
How Can I Look After My Mental Health While I’m Spending More Time In-Doors?
My number one top tip is to get into a routine. It’s going to be a new routine so you’re going to have to make some adjustments, but we know from previous studies that having a routine is really important for our mental health. If you’re the kind of person that likes getting up early and working out then try to still do this. Consider getting up at a similar time as normal and put your makeup on as you would do for work so you’re in the best frame of mind.
My second top tip would be to stay connected with people. You might miss seeing other people’s faces on your commute to work or around the office. Definitely keep in touch with people via video calling and call up a friend if you’re feeling a little bit lonely. Also, just as you would do normally if you are struggling with your mental health, please speak to your doctor about it. GP’s are still operating via telephone and e-consultations and we can direct you to the most appropriate support. Also, charities such as mind.org have some great resources on there, where you can click on the links to find some local support services for you. Please take your mental health seriously and listen to your body, but know that everyone is feeling an element of anxiety at the moment. For some of us, this may be a new feeling but there are plenty of resources available to support you.
How Can I Get A Good Night’s Sleep?
It’s really important that you maintain good sleep hygiene. We know that getting a bad night’s sleep doesn’t do much good for our anxiety so if you’re able to work from home, try and work away from your sleep space. We know that people who keep their work and sleep separate have better quality of sleep and a good night’s sleep will do wonders for your anxiety. I’d also really recommend apps like CALM or Headspace which are really good for mindfulness if your thoughts or anxiety get too much. Also, whilst I think that it’s really important that we keep up to date with the current situation and can follow the latest guidance so that we can keep safe, I would advise only watching the news once a day so you’re minimising your exposure to potentially negative or triggering content.
How Can I Stay Positive?
First of all, just remember that this is temporary and it WILL pass. Normal life will be resumed and hopefully we’ll be able to take some positives from this experience and have a new outlook on life. I feel like we’re all realising what’s important during this difficult period and focusing on keeping connected with our loved ones. I think that’s what we all want the most.
Another way to keep positive is to talk about your anxieties and anything that is worrying you. Once you realise that many more people are feeling a similar way, it can help you cope with your own feelings. Remember, we’re all in this together. The world is united in learning more about the virus and discovering treatments, so focus on keeping yourself safe by staying at home.
How Can Essential Workers Avoid Getting The Virus?
I know this is a big concern for those who are deemed essential workers and still need to go to work. Where possible, avoid public transport and try and keep two metres away from people when you are commuting to and from work. Wash your hands more often that you think is deemed necessary. Every time you touch something - a public space, a door handle - ensure you are washing your hands.
The important thing is don’t panic! We need you, essential workers! You are helping the country to function and it’s down to the rest of us to help keep you safe by staying at home.
How Does The Virus Affect People With Asthma?
Asthma is a condition that means that the airways in the lungs can sometimes tighten, which makes breathing more difficult and can make you wheezy. The virus can affect the lungs and cause some inflammation, so those people with severe asthma may experience heightened symptoms compared to someone with no pre-existing conditions. That doesn’t mean that everyone with asthma is going to experience symptoms - it just means that people with asthma are advised to take extra precautions. The NHS have sent letters out to everyone with severe asthma advising them to take extra precautions for the next twelve weeks. If you are someone with asthma and you are worried, then I’d recommend that you go on the asthma.org website where there is a full information leaflet to support you during the Covid-19 pandemic.
How Do I Know Who is Considered ‘High-Risk’?
The ‘high risk’ category includes anyone who is over 70, anyone with a chronic condition such as a lung condition, a heart condition, diabetics, and pregnant women. Basically, anyone who is eligible for the flu jab. However, this week the NHS is actually sending letters and text messages to everyone they consider vulnerable to advise you to stay home for twelve weeks. If you’re not sure if you might be in the vulnerable category, then please check the government website. If you are considered a vulnerable person or know someone who is, the advice is to take extra precautions during the next twelve weeks, staying at home as much as possible, minimising visitors, washing hands more regularly, and adhering to the social distancing recommendation.
How Can I Help Those Who Are Vulnerable?
The number one thing you can do is stay at home as much as possible. Rather than going to the supermarket every day, try and do one big shop. If you know a vulnerable person, offer to do their shopping for them whilst you’re doing yours, then drop it off outside their house. Staying at home for twelve weeks can be particularly daunting but social isolation doesn’t have to mean loneliness. Stay connected, check how they are by video call or a telephone conversation and let them know that you’re thinking about them.
What Is The Advice For Pregnant Women?
I understand that this is a particularly anxious time, but try to relax at home. All of the measures that have been put in place for pregnant women are precautionary while we learn more about the virus. Try to still attend your antenatal appointments. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists c are really keen for you to still attend all the screening that you are entitled too. Outside of necessary trips, try to stay at home. If you’ve got someone that can do the shopping for you, for example, then ask for help.
There is currently no evidence that mum can pass the virus on to baby in the womb but for more specific questions you might want answering about pregnancy and Coronavirus, I’d recommend having a look at The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website.
How Are You Coping?
This is going to go on for several months and I think it’s really important that we keep up to date, we watch the news so that we are following the guidance and we’re keeping safe but don’t let it be all-consuming! I personally only watch the news once a day, so I keep up to date, so I’m in control of how much I’m consuming.
For anyone that might be feeling particularly anxious or wants to know more about what’s going on, I’m actually running a daily Q&A session on my own personal Instagram stories @Dr. FrankieJS, so if you have any worries or concerns that you want answering then feel free to send me a message.
Try to remember conversation will not be cancelled, love will not be cancelled, and hope will not be cancelled 💪🏼💓