On this page you will find a host of resources to help you and your family through this time:
’What can I do to keep me strong during this Coronavirus Pandemic?’
The coronavirus has created huge uncertainty which is uncomfortable and leaves us feeling unsure of what we can and can’t do. This section provides links to some reliable practical advice on:
What is the current advice on Coronavirus?
Keep up to date using reliable and regularly updated sources of information. The NHS website is clear and has numerous links to additional information:
If you are extremely vulnerable, then follow this link for advice about additional precautions and services:
Food Supplies and prescriptions: If you are in the high risk or vulnerable group and are struggling to get supplies of food and/or your prescriptions, then please make a self-referral via this weblink: https://www.northampton.gov.uk/info/406/our-town/2515/coronavirus-information-and-advice-about-covid-19/3
How can I access help in a mental health crisis?
All Mental Health services can now be accessed through the integrated Mental Health Hub which is available 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. A trained mental health navigator will take your details and then find the right support for you or give advice over the telephone.
The number to ring is 0300 330 1011.
How do I stay physically and mentally well when socially distancing or socially isolating myself?
Look after your body:
Your immune system is your body’s defence system. When a harmful invader — like a cold or flu virus, or the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — gets into your body, your immune system mounts an attack. Known as an immune response, this attack is a sequence of events that involves various cells and unfolds over time.
Following general health guidelines is the best step you can take toward keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
- Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains - variety is key - mix those colours up and try cooking something new! If you want to find out more this weblink is a start: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/
- What you eat can affect your mood - take a look at this weblink, there is short video of the written information provided and several more links: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/food-and-mood/about-food-and-mood/
- Take a multivitamin if you suspect that you may not be getting all the nutrients you need through your diet.
- Exercise regularly-there are many free workouts available on YouTube/apps if walking/exercising outside isn't appropriate for you. Take a look at these simple online resources and virtual sessions put together by Northamptonshire Sport during Covid-19 social distancing: https://www.northamptonshiresport.org/stay-active-at-home
There are some more on the NHS website, again to suit a range of fitness levels and interests: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/
- Maintain a healthy weight - having a structure for meal-times can help your body's natural rhythm (wake/sleep cycle).
- Get enough sleep - keeping a good balance of activities/work/rest is essential for a health sleep pattern. When going to sleep think about three good things you have experienced in that day- something you have done, seen, heard, felt… simple- but this can help you sleep and enhance your sense of well-being.
- Control your stress level - try relaxation exercises or gentle stretching. - take a look at these useful links: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/relaxation/relaxation-exercises/
- Control your blood pressure - singing and laughing are two of the best ways for lowering blood pressure - you don't have to be in tune - give it a try!
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation (no more than one to two drinks a day for men, no more than one a day for women). If you are concerned about the amount you drink take a look at this website https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/ - you will find advice and support for you and your family, plus links to local support groups by typing in your postcode on this weblink: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/other-services/Alcohol-addiction/LocationSearch/1805
- Don’t smoke - if you need support there are lots of free aids and advice online and through the NHS smoke-free website/app: https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and trying not to touch your hands to your face, since harmful germs can enter through your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Look after your Mind:
Keeping a healthy mindset can be hard - especially during a pandemic such as this, however using strategies to assist your mental wellbeing will not only help you stay calm and focused but will support your physical health too!
Watch your anxiety levels- whilst it is good to stay informed and up to date on the latest guidance, too much exposure to the news/social media/hearsay can be extremely damaging and counterproductive for our mental health. Intense fear and worry create release of stress hormones and may interfere with your rest which ultimately can suppress your immune system. It is important to stay calm, guard your thoughts and take practical steps to take care of your mental health.
On this page you will find a host of resources to help you and your family through this time. Some examples include; Online Well-being Groups led by your SPLW and are available through some surgeries; and techniques you might find helpful to reduce your anxiety. It is also important to talk through what is making you anxious. Your social prescribing link worker is here to listen to you and where you feel it would be helpful to link you with local services and support.
Mindfulness is known to help reduce anxiety by focussing our awareness on the present place in the present time and create a feeling of calm. Follow this link to find out more: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness/ . It is also linked to breathing exercises and this short video will take you through how to do a mindful breathing exercise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfDTp2GogaQ&app=desktop
Deeply engaging in meaningful activities can create a different type of relaxation where you lose the sense of time and when you ‘come back’ to the present you have a feeling of deep relaxation, this is called ‘flow’ or altered consciousness. Take a look at this link to explain a little more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h6IMYRoCZw
What activities will help you experience flow?
Maintaining some routine in uncertain times will contribute to a feeling of security - this is one of ten top tips to in how to stay well when socially distancing- take a look at the rest of the list by following this link: https://www.rcot.co.uk/staying-well-when-social-distancing.
Action for Happiness have some helpful advice about managing the constant news feed on the coronavirus and maintaining your emotional resilience in this stressful time. https://www.actionforhappiness.org/news/covid-19-how-to-respond. They also produce a monthly calendar to employ the Ten Keys to Happier Living into everyday life - take a look at this new ‘Coping Calendar: https://www.actionforhappiness.org/calendars
Look after others:
Focus on what's best for everyone - not just you (because that's what's best for you!). Relish the sense of community and kindness flourishing throughout our town to support and enable both the healthy and vulnerable to thrive. In the face of something like this, it is natural to think of ourselves first. It’s a built-in survival mechanism - grab what you can, save yourself. But if we really stop and think about it, the best way to “save ourselves” is to stop the spread of this virus, or at least slow it down. And that will take us working together, and thinking of each other
Looking out for each other and reflecting on how you might contribute to the strength and wellbeing of others around you/in your community, can enhance your own wellbeing. Providing a purpose and value to your day, it can be something as simple as calling a friend in isolation right through to volunteering in your local hospital/care home. As with all steps, it is important to follow the correct government advice, being mindful of risks to yourself and family whilst still 'playing your part'.
Social contact is a critical part of maintaining our own health and well-being, therefore it is all the more important to keep in touch with people albeit by telephone, text, e-mail, social media platforms, on-line groups and letters, when we cannot see people face to face. Take a look at some ways we might increase our social contact, without having to leave the house.
Activities to reduce anxiety
Breathing exercises are very helpful to reduce feelings of anxiety and to cope in times of stress. Follow this link to a basic breathing exercise for stress: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/ways-relieve-stress/
This is not the only technique, there are others and it is worth trying different techniques to see what works best to you. For example, the 7-11 breathing technique pictured is one you can use anywhere, anytime.
This link will take you to the Box Breathing Technique - there is a video by Mark Divine, a former Navy Commander, where he demonstrates the technique as well some explanation about how resetting one’s breath help us leave the fight or flight mode that stress can create. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321805#why-breath-is-vital-to-health
Abdominal breathing- Cara do you have anything to add here?
If your head is full of worries set aside some a specific ‘Worry Time’- this YouTube clip explains. Want to know a little more take a look at this website: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/how-to-stop-worrying.htm
The NHS website it full of helpful advice to help you maintain your mental health during this time- take a look at this link:
App to help you recover from stress, worry and low mood. The Feeling Good App provides positive mental training across a 12-week course to help boost your resilience. Between It is free for the first three months and can be download from the App Store. To find out more take a look at : https://vimeo.com/showcase/6867790
If you choose to download this App using the free three-month trial then the In-app Login username is: nthmtnan and the password is: Coboost. This offer of a runs from now until end of June 2020, after which the code will no longer be active.
Food Supplies and prescriptions: If you are in the high risk or vulnerable group and cannot leave your home under current restrictions and do not have anyone to call upon for help to get supplies of food and/or your prescriptions, then please telephone the new support line on 0300 126 1000 (option 5) which is co-ordinated by the Community Resilience Service- for more information see https://www.northampton.gov.uk/coronavirus
This weblink has local information and advice on the government support to individuals and businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic. https://www.northampton.gov.uk/coronavirus
Examples of keeping in touch:
- List all the people who you know are self-isolating, ring one person each day to see how they are.
- Set up a WhatsApp group amongst people you usually meet-up with, meet at the same time virtually and share what you are doing, use photos to help share each other’s world.
- Set up an online game to play with some friends e.g. scrabble, Words with Friends.
- Arrange to phone or if you want to see each other use WhatsApp/ Skype/ Facetime/ Zoom or Google Herding to ‘meet’ with some friends at a time you might have met up with for a coffee cup of coffee. Make your own coffee to enjoy with them as you chat. If you are struggling to set up these on-line tools, then telephone a younger relative/friend and ask them to talk you through the process!
- Write a letter to a friend or relative who you have not heard from for a while. If you do this on the computer, you can include photos and increase the font size if their sight is poor.