Hi, I’m Sue and I have been a counsellor in mental health for 20 years in a private practice in Cheshire, EAP counsellor for the NHS, large international companies and Young people’s counsellor in schools. 

Big Hi to you all at HeathLive…..

Thank you for the invite to share at this time of uncertainty and unease .

Coronavirus is dominating headlines around the world. While the media focus is on the impact on people’s physical health and what’s being done to prevent the spread of the disease; anxiety about the virus can also have an impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing.

With blanket news coverage – including of deaths, whole countries being locked down and stories of people being kept in quarantine or having to self-isolate for weeks, there is understandably a lot of anxiety about the virus.

It’s still an unknown threat, to us as humans; our brain is connecting all this info to the fear centre in our brain, our underlying fears safety and being in this world.

Facing fears and exploring is something that often is dealt with in counselling. Fear is very real and affects everyone in different ways.  Most of us have well established coping mechanisms that deal with day to day “threats” to our survival not only physically but mentally.

Right now the media and the television news bring this right into our home or safe space, in the very air we breathe even if it’s not.

The government has issued advice what to do if you feel unwell, have been to any affected areas and has guidance on how to prevent the spread of disease. The government doesn’t give guidance to protect you mentally and emotionally.

Here are some suggestions how to self help if you are feeling anxious about the spread of the virus.

Think about access to media and social media

Think about where you get your info. Are they sensationalising and scaremongering?

Try limiting how much time you spend on social media or reading, listening or watching the news.

Make a conscience choice to pick time in day to get a one update when you feel at your sharpest – I recommend late afternoon not first thing and not end of night before sleep.

Don’t ignore your anxiety

It’s normal to feel scared about something like this, it’s part of being human and fully experiencing the world around us.

Exploring the feeling with someone can help – a trusted friend, family member, colleague or a counsellor.

Inviting feelings to a safe space to be heard is how it’s processed to enable letting go.

Do something you can control

Express this anxiety in a way that you can control. Writing down what you feel, keeping a journal and once you’ve written it down, let it go. Allow yourself to worry, put it down in writing in a notebook, and then put that away. Bring to mind explore and then let it go. Inviting an emotion in takes its power and hold over you. 

Worry dolls, dream catchers, post it notes, spider diagrams all very useful for this exploration.

Bring it back to the present.

With anxiety you can often go into what’s called predicting of future or crystal ball thinking , never helpful with fear so try bring it into the NOW and Today.

Think about your thought process

Another unhelpful thinking style is catastrophizing; we’re focusing on all these what ifs? 

Come back to what you actually know what is rational and with Fact.

Reassure and calm yourself. Self soothe

Wellbeing Check

Look after yourself get a good night’s sleep eat well and try some exercise.

If we look after our sleep regime, food intake and body physical health it helps our mind with anxiety. Anxiety links our brain and body. Stress hormones can make physical symptoms worse.

Breathing techniques and mindfulness

Practise mindfulness or using breathing techniques to help you relax.

There are lots of these on You Tube that you can follow as well as Yoga and guided imagery.

I hope this has been of use, Stay Safe and remember this too will pass.


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