8 April 2020

What to do if you’re anxious about COVID-19

Movember’s tips to help you keep calm during a period of global stress
Mental Health

With the majority of the world currently in lockdown, such an unprecedented time may bring stress for even the calmest of heads.
Coming to terms with the new normal, sudden social distancing restrictions and balancing work and family life, along with concerns over contracting COVID-19 itself may understandably bring up feelings of anxiety.
Anyone can suffer from anxiety. We’re not just about talking fleeting worries, but a more constant state of stress you just can’t shake. The current situation could see some of us experience this for the first time – while those who regularly deal with it could be feeling more anxious than usual.
So what can you do to manage your stress levels at a time when it feels like the whole world is stressed? Movember has put together a few simple tips to keep you as calm as possible during lockdown. 
Take a media break
It’s easy to get trapped in the endless news cycle and obsess over the latest update. Of course, it’s important to stay up to date with Government advice and rulings, but that doesn’t mean you need to hear it on repeat. Avoid following the news all day, every day and take a break from social media when you can. Pick an hour or two each day to step away from headlines completely and give yourself space to breathe. The best way to stop worrying about the future is by focusing on your present – so don’t flood your day with negative headlines and media speculation.
Listen to the NHS
Following the NHS’s advice will help you clear your mind of worry about COVID-19 itself. The guidelines are simple, and if you follow them correctly, you’ll dramatically reduce your chance of contracting or spreading the virus. Doing everything you can to avoid falling ill yourself will reassure you and give you a sense of control over the situation.
Talk, talk, talk
Talking is often the best therapy. So if you’re feeling anxious about work, worried about getting sick or just feel stressed about being at home all the time, talk to someone close to you. They will listen and they will support you. They may even be having similar feelings themselves, so you’ll both benefit from opening up. Try to avoid compounding worry if you’re both feelings anxious. Make an effort to reassure each other and try to remain positive. If you feel the conversation is too big for friends or family and you need professional support, see some suggested services below or visit our Get Support page on Movember.com.
Setting yourself up with some form of routine will help you feel organised and give your day more structure. Routine will keep you productive during the working day and allow you to relax in your down time.
Find something you enjoy which can distract you, even if it’s for a brief moment. Read a book, bake something, learn to play an instrument – anything that will occupy your mind and remind you there’s more to life than this current situation. And don’t forget the importance of exercise and a healthy diet in maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. Getting a good home workout done or planning a healthy dinner can also offer a nice distraction for the day-to-day.
Switching off at the end of each day is really important to reduce stress. Take a few minutes in the evening to calm your mind. Focus on something you achieved in that day and remind yourself lockdown won’t be forever. Sleep is also vital, so make sure you’re sticking to a proper sleep schedule to improve your mood.
Check in with mates
While physical distancing is essential to combat COVID-19, it means the things men typically rely on to connect and look after each other have been lost. Be sure you’re checking in with your mates to keep yourself socially connected and make sure they’re coping too. 
While this global crisis undoubtedly affects those of all genders, we know men can struggle to connect and talk about how they’re feeling at the best of times. In the current situation, this is vital for blokes now more than ever. That’s why Movember is encouraging everyone to take on the Five-A-Day challenge and find five minutes to support a mate who’s doing it tough.
The idea is simple: make a commitment to spend at least five minutes each day checking in with a bloke who might be struggling. Send a text to see how they’re coping with isolation, FaceTime to see what they’ve been doing to keep busy or have a chat on the phone about what’s for dinner. Be prepared to give them more time if you need to delve a little deeper, but a general catch up might be all you both need.

If you’ve tried all these things and still don’t feel great, try speaking to your doctor or contact one of the below avenues of support.
In an emergency:

  • Call 999
  • Go to your local A&E department
If you're in crisis and need to speak to someone:  
For general support and information about local services:
  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393
  • NHS Mental Health and Wellbeing Support
More information on COVID-19: