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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Tips from Headway Devon

1. Don’t pretend you are not stressed. Think of yourself as a bottle of fizzy drink that got dropped. That’s a lot of gas that needs releasing. You are not super human and you will have emotions and some of those will be negative. Not admitting you are stressed will just increase the stress. Accepting it and voicing it helps. It’s like stating you are nervous in an interview or screaming on a fairground ride. Being honest with yourself helps. This is perhaps the most important tip. Pushing it down is the road to depression, anxiety and PTSD.

2.Understand what it is that you are stressed about specifically and see what you can do to reduce that risk. At the moment that might be limited I accept.

3.Look for things about it that you can control. That’s what your mind does if it gets a mental health condition. OCD and eating disorders are all about control. So find something you have control about in a moderate way and do that. So for instance if you feel stressed about bringing the virus back home then have a shower and change your clothes. Tell your mind that you have something you can do that is positive.

4.Maintain a routine. I am working from home but I always do the same routine regardless.

5.Limit your news intake. Have times allocated that you watch or read the news and then stop. Don’t read it all day. Limit your social media and recognise that the algorithms are self-fulfilling. The more sad stories you read, the more sad stories you will see. Social media sells what you are interested and it does sell negative ideas if you are willing to buy them.

6.Notice the good news stories if you are watching the news. Try to pay more attention to the stories about people being lovely and less to the sadder news.

7.Physical and mental health go hand in hand. If you are stressed look after yourself. Improve your sleep pattern, eat healthier food, do some physical exercise at home. Take your medicine.

8.Talk about it. Allow those negative feelings a chance to be heard. Some of us need to process thoughts. This is really awful and even the strongest people are struggling. If you are someone that gets irritated by people “fixing” you when you talk, the chances are that you process experience by talking about it. Many women do. You need to process. If there is nobody phone a stranger or talk to yourself. It will help.

9.Cry. Sometimes I feel much better for this and it stimulates your immune system so wins all round.

10.Some of us need to do something practical about negative thoughts. If you are that person scream, punch a pillow, do some physical exercise.

11.Do something creative. Cook, play an instrument, write, make something.

12.Notice the blue sky, the flowers, the bird song, the air on your skin.

13.Give yourself something to look forward to.

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