Looking after yourself during the coronavirus outbreak
Coronavirus is a virus which causes a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. This illness is called COVID-19. The Government has issued guidance on how to reduce the risk of getting ill and spreading the virus. This means you may have to stay at home and avoid other people.
It is understandable to feel worried or anxious at this unsettling time but there are things you can try that could help your wellbeing.
Keep taking your medication and access treatment where possible
You can still talk to us on our telephone support service Guide-Line, which is open between 12 noon and 12 midnight every day on 08001 884 884.
We have doubled our 1:1 support sessions which are normally held at GP surgeries and these are currently offered over the phone. Our wellbeing staff are contacting existing wellbeing clients by phone.
If you feel you cannot keep yourself safe and need urgent mental health support, call First Response on 01274 221 181. Our evening crisis service, The Sanctuary, is offering the same level of support by telephone.
You may find it helpful to keep you home clean and tidy, although this may not be the case for everyone. If you live with other people, try to decide how you are using different spaces so each person feels comfortable.
Cleaning your house, doing laundry and washing yourself are important ways to help stop germs spreading.
If you are feeling trapped or claustrophobic, open windows to let in fresh air or spend time on your doorstep or in the garden.
Plan how you will spend your time and try to keep to an ordinary routine as much as possible.
Find new ways to relax, be creative and keep your mind stimulated. You could try activities such as colouring, yoga, meditation, doing puzzles, reading or having a sort out at home.
You can leave the house for physical exercise such as going for a walk or run if you are not self-isolating on medical or age grounds.
Build physical activity into your daily routine by doing activities such as cleaning, going up and down stairs or dancing to music.
Get sunlight, nature and fresh air. These can benefit your mental and physical wellbeing. Try opening windows, listening to natural sounds such as birdsong and having a plant in your home.
Try writing down how you feel, practicing mindfulness or talk through your worries with us or someone you trust. Breathing exercises may also help.
If you are finding it hard to hear advice health and hygiene advice such as washing your hands, you can speak to our Guide-Line team on 01274 594594.
Be careful where you get news and health information from. Up-to-date advice can be found on the NHS website. If the news makes you feel anxious or confused, think about switching it off or limiting what you look at for a while.
If you have panic attacks or flashbacks, it might help to plan a ‘safe space’ in your home that you can go to.
Connect with friends and family by phone, video calls or social media. Consider putting up more photos of people you care about.
Listen to a chatty radio station.
Join a peer support community such as Mind’s Elefriends where you can share your experiences and hear from others.
If your MOT runs out after 30 March 2020, your MOT automatically qualifies for a six month extension from the date it becomes due.
Online: try to plan ahead so you don’t run out of food. Booking an online delivery shop is increasingly difficult. Some clients have reported that more slots are available to book if you log on between 4-6am.
Morrison’s offer a vegetarian or meat-eater box for £35 which should last two adults one week. Place an order before 3pm for next day delivery: www.morrisons.com/food-boxes/boxes.
Some supermarkets like Iceland and Sainsbury’s are prioritising vulnerable customers. Calling the supermarket to explain your circumstances may help you.
In store: stores are asking customers to leave at least a two-metre distance where possible from others and some offer to clean handles on trolleys and baskets. You may have to queue outside of the shop before you go in and some items such as toilet rolls are limited.
If you are in an abusive relationship or environment, please seek help. During the restrictions, you are allowed to leave home to seek refuge. If you are in immediate danger, call 999. If you can’t speak, dial 999 and then press 55 to notify your local police force without having to talk.
Unless you are exempt, it is now a legal requirement to wear a face covering in the following settings:
Indoor transport hubs (i.e. train and bus stations)
Shops and supermarkets
Indoor shopping centres
Banks, building societies, and post offices
Premises providing professional, legal or financial services
Museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites
Nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers – other than where necessary to remove for treatments
Public areas in hotels and hostels
Places of worship
Libraries and public reading rooms
Tattoo and piercing parlours
Indoor entertainment venues (amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities such as laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms, heritage sites)
Storage and distribution facilities
You are also strongly advised to wear coverings in places where social distancing can’t be maintained and where you come into contact with people you ordinarily wouldn’t.
Examples of places where you are not legally required to wear a face covering include:
Hospitality settings (i.e. restaurants with table service, bars, pubs)
Outdoor visitor attractions (in outdoor areas)
Some people are exempt from wearing a covering; such as:
Young children under the age of 11 (it is also advised that children under 3 do not wear them)
Those unable to put on, wear, or remove a covering because of a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability
If you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who requires lip reading to communicate
If doing so would cause harm, or risk of harm, to yourself or others
And in these circumstances you may remove your covering:
To eat or drink if reasonably necessary
To take medication
If a police officer or other official requests you to remove your covering
If asked to do so in a bank, building society, or post office for identification
If asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, the purpose of assessing health recommendations, such as a pharmacist, or for age identification purposes including when buying age restricted products such as alcohol
If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication
Some people may ask why you are not wearing a face covering; if this happens, you may feel more comfortable being able to show them a card which says that you are exempt rather than having to explain it. To help with this, the government has created a free card/badge template which you can keep on your phone and print off.
Where can I get a face covering?
Face coverings are available online and in most supermarkets and are sold as reusable (you can wash and reuse it multiple times) or disposable (throw away after one use). You can also make your own at home.
How should I use a face covering?
A face covering should:
Cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
Fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
Be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
Be made of a material that you find to be comfortable and breathable, such as cotton
Ideally include at least two layers of fabric (the World Health Organisation recommends three depending on the fabric used)
Unless disposable, it should be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged
When wearing a face covering you should:
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on
Avoid wearing on your neck or forehead
Avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus
Change the face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
Avoid taking it off and putting it back on a lot in quick succession (for example, when leaving and entering shops on a high street)
When removing a face covering:
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing
Only handle the straps, ties or clips
Do not give it to someone else to use
If single-use, dispose of it carefully in a residual waste bin and do not recycle
If reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed
Isn’t this just a con to try and control people?
There are lots of conspiracy theories out there at the moment. Wearing a face covering will help reduce COVID19 transmission and is a legal requirement in certain settings for those who are not exempt.
Will wearing a face covering completely protect me from COVID19?
No. It will help reduce your chance of catching and spreading COVID19, however it doesn’t guarantee absolute safety. It’s important to continue to keep up good hygiene (washing hands regularly/use hand sanitiser with a 70% alcohol content) and social distancing where possible.
My glasses steam up when I wear one. What can I do?
Fill a bowl with water and some washing up liquid; dip your glasses in the water, pull them out and allow them to air dry; this will help leave a fog resistance film across the lenses. You can also try move your face covering further up so that your glasses touch the top of it and pull it closer to your skin; this will reduce the amount of moisture reaching the glasses. It also helps to make the mask fit as snugly as possible; if you have elastic straps on your covering, twist them into an X so that it is tighter and moisture is less likely to reach your glasses. You can also try breathe downwards.
For full details about the rules around face coverings, head here
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