How can I help my family cope emotionally with the pandemic?

Lots of us are being asked to stay at home or keep our distance right now. This can feel scary, but there are simple ways to manage stress and feel less anxious.

Mother and daughter doing stretching exercises

Eat well and stay hydrated

Stress, boredom and changes to your usual routine can all affect how hungry you feel, and what you choose to eat.

  • Try to eat regular, balanced meals if you can, and avoid skipping meals. This keeps your blood sugar stable, which is great for managing mood and energy levels.
  • Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. You can use an alarm, an app, or even stickers to remind yourself to drink regularly.

Keep in touch with others

Regular contact with friends and family makes us feel connected and cared for.

  • Share jokes or photos by text or instant message.
  • Catch up by phone, or use an app to make video calls to friends and extended family.
  • Take time to write emails, or send letters by post.
  • Use social media to keep in touch or meet others.
  • Give friends and family a call to help them get set up with technology if they need.

Stay active

Exercise is brilliant at reducing stress and boosting your mood. Try and build some physical activity into your new daily routine.

  • Join in with live exercise videos on the internet or on TV. There are lots of free workouts online that you can play at any time, too.
  • Use things around the house. Climb up and down stairs, do seated exercises while watching TV, or use tins or bottles of water as weights.
  • Remember: everyday activities count too, such as gardening or brisk hoovering. Or dance around to some music.

Get some fresh air

Sunshine, fresh air and green spaces are great for wellbeing: try to bring them into your life as much as you can.

  • Spend time in the garden or yard if you have one. If the weather’s nice, put a chair outside or take a book with you.
  • Arrange a comfy spot next to a window and spend time watching the trees, sky or birds and animals.
  • Play soothing natural sounds, such as birdsong, rainfall or ocean waves. These can help you fall asleep, too.
  • Go for a walk if it’s safe to do so. Notice what you see and hear around you.

Be kind to yourself

There are lots of things we have to do differently right now, and that can feel unsettling. Give yourself permission to take things slowly and make time for yourself.

It’s not easy to stop worrying, especially if you have concerns about money, health, jobs or schooling. Just do what you can to reduce the impact of unnecessary stress.

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