Mind Your Mental Health - Adults
Limited contact, restrictions on recreational activities, worrying about falling ill and infecting others and feelings of uncertainty about the future are just a few of the challenges we must contend with during this difficult time. Parents and family members acting as carers are under particular strain. Working from home and having to take precautionary measures when we do go to work have completely altered our professional lives. Many adults are worried about losing their livelihoods, with many having to put their careers fully on pause or significantly slow their plans. Others had just been planning to start their careers, or were still studying and are now left to wonder what the future holds. So it’s no wonder uncertainty and worry are such big parts of our everyday lives. The circumstances we are all currently facing can sometimes bring about feelings of anger or sadness. It’s an understandable response that many people are experiencing.
We’ve put together a few tips and support options you might find useful:
Use reliable sources of information
The amount of information about the coronavirus may exacerbate feelings of uncertainty, so try to limit your exposure to the news to just once or twice a day, and make sure you use reliable sources of information, such as www.infektionsschutz.de (German only, with some multilingual resources), the Robert Koch Institute.
For more information on dealing with stress and uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, we recommend this resource.
Keep in touch
Keep in touch with family, friends and even work colleagues by phone or video chat, or even simply by sending a text message. Talking with others can help you manage your own thoughts and feelings and helps combat feelings of loneliness.
Adjust your plans for the future
The pandemic continues to throw our lives into turmoil, keeping us from carrying out any number of plans we might have had. Feelings of disappointment and frustration are completely understandable. Try to bear in mind that this is ultimately a temporary situation. Start making plans for after the coronavirus pandemic, that way you can start looking forward to something.
Trust in your strengths
Courage and confidence are important, even in difficult circumstances. Look back on difficult situations you’ve managed to overcome in the past. Trust in your strengths, and trust that the situation will change for the better. After all, the coronavirus pandemic won’t last forever.
Tackle money worries
Many people are being affected by reduced working hours, or are simply worried about making ends meet. Loss of income is often a major source of worry.
Information on the current economic situation and the support options available are available on the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs website. The German government has also provided a great deal of other information – for businesses and self-employed people as well as for employees. Please note that the information specific to economic support during the pandemic is only available in German.
Try to organise regular meet-ups with friends and family members. Even though it may sometimes be difficult or impossible to meet in person, you can arrange a video chat to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee together, organise a games night, or start a joint project, like reading and discussing a book together.
Young people in particular will be craving contact with their friends. They will be missing spontaneous get-togethers with friends, regularly spending time together at work or in school, crazy nights out, attending concerts, festivals and other events.
Do something to bring a smile to someone’s face. You could bake something and drop it round to them, or put together a few photos of memories you’ve shared. Small acts of kindness like this can go a long way to helping people feel like we’re all in this together.
Tips for getting through a quarantine
Having to self-isolate at home is a challenging new situation for those of us facing quarantine. It’s helpful to structure your day and keep to a schedule, fill your time with enjoyable projects and keep in contact with others during this time.
More useful tips are available here:
Overcome challenges as a couple
Many couples may be finding the coronavirus pandemic a challenge for their relationship. Working from home means some couples may be spending all of their time together. This can be difficult when it’s still not an option to meet up with others in person or enjoy your usual recreational activities as you normally would. You may also be handling the situation differently.
Occasional disagreements are normal. Information on handling conflict constructively is available on the German Society for Psychology (DGP) website (German only).
Try to take time away both for yourself and for both of you as a couple. If you are working from home, try to separate your work life from your private life as much as possible (both in terms of where you work in your house and your schedule). Be sure to stay in touch with others so you can enjoy a bit of conversation and to counteract feelings of loneliness.
Support others suffering severe mental stress
Coping with the coronavirus pandemic can be particularly challenging for people under a lot of mental stress or who already suffer from pre-existing mental health conditions. Some of what might usually be considered the most important coping strategies may not be very straightforward or even possible right now. It’s understandable then when friends and relatives are sometimes worried and want to help. Here are a few tips for how to help:
Ask how you can help. Sometimes just holding space and providing company and lending a sympathetic ear are all it takes.
Make sure they know about the various support services available:
- Telefonseelsorge (available in German only): 0800 111 0 111
- The German Federal Centre for Health Education’s (BZgA) telephone counselling service: 0800 23 22 783
If you’re not sure whether or how you should help, you can use the German Federal Association of Families of People with Mental Illness’s (BApK) SeeleFon service for counselling by email or telephone: +49 (0)228 71 00 24 24
If you believe the mental state of someone close to you is critically deteriorating, you should seek professional help. Visit https://www.psychenet.de/de/hilfe-finden/schnelle-hilfe.html (German only) for crisis helpline information. Visit https://www.psychenet.de/en/ to find healthcare information on common mental illnesses, decision-making tools and self-tests. The Bundespsychotherapeutenkammer (German Federal Association of Psychotherapists) website (German only) also has information for those suffering with mental illness during the coronavirus pandemic.