The number of cases of Coronavirus is escalating in the UK and around the world. It’s impossible to browse on your phone or pick up a paper without being reminded of the grip it is taking across the globe. And these constant reminders of a potential pandemic inevitably take a toll on our mental health.
In hospitality, the worry can be particularly acute. Will a sharp decline in inbound tourists lead to redundancies at the hotel I work in? If people stop eating out in crowded environments, will I have to close my restaurant? If I cater within a busy workplace, am I more exposed than many to catching the virus? If many of my colleagues phone in sick, will I have to put in more shifts and work longer? And if I have to self-isolate, will I still be paid?
These and other questions and worries can place unwanted pressures on an individual. And, when pressure turns to stress, mental health can suffer.
The Mental Health Foundation has published a valuable guide to safeguarding your mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Here are a few of their recommendations:
Seek information from trusted information sources and avoid rumour and speculation. We’re all bombarded with medias speculation about the virus’s potential threat. And the media loves to talk up a crisis. Don’t allow the scaremongers to frighten you: you’ll find the latest information about the virus at sites like Gov.uk, Health Protection Scotland and Public Health Wales. And if the media is causing you anxiety, give yourself a screen break.
Unless you’ve sung ‘Happy Birthday’ twice in your head while washing your hands, you haven’t washed them thoroughly enough! And hands need washing after every sneeze, meal or trip to the loo. If you use tissues, disposed of them after use. And don’t come to work if you think you might have caught the virus.
Don’t worry alone
Talking to others helps keep a perspective on current events. So speak to family, friends and colleagues, and don’t let worry fester into anxiety. And use the outbreak as a chance to check in with friends and colleagues to make sure their mental health isn’t suffering. If you are worried,please call us.
Talk to your children
The world can be a scary place for kids, sometimes. Talk to them regularly to make sure playground gossip isn’t filling their minds with grisly images of what the future holds. Explain the facts to them, to ensure their imaginations don’t run riot.
Don’t let self-isolation affect your mental health
If you need to stay away from work because you have or think you might have the virus, don’t let yourself become isolated. Keep in touch with the outside world through phone calls, emails or social media. And establish a daily routine that keeps worry and stress at bay: watch that box set you’ve always meant to watch, do some exercise, read a book.
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