Looking after yourself during a pandemic
17 Mar 2020
by The Autism Service

The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has affected the world in many ways, and as a psychologist Dr Lisa Williams has spoken with many people dealing primarily with fear and stress in relation to the pandemic.


We spoke to her about her advice on coping with the present situation...


Mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness!  

There's no point worrying about what we don't know. Yes it's an uncertain time that is making us feel uncomfortable, but we are wasting our energy and causing ourselves further distress if we start trying to predict the future - particularly given that it is human nature to predict the worse case scenario! 

Stay in the present moment. Acknowledge that it's an uncomfortable time but then carry on with your normal activities. Be sensible and follow the advice and guidelines provided for you.


Limit your exposure to the news and social media 

If you are talking about coronavirus more than a couple of times a day, you are probably starting to get preoccupied with it. And preoccupation leads to obsession. And obsession creates anxiety...

Break the cycle by limiting your exposure to the news and social media. Instead, do something more purposeful.


Challenge what you hear, even if it is just in your own head

Just because you heard it on the news, does not mean the information is correct. I went to France with a friend in December during the strikes - the news coverage was that there would be travel chaos and danger, riots in the street. We didn't see a thing and had a fabulous time!


Exercise, eat well and drink plenty of water

All these things will give an instant boost to your well-being - and help you to be better prepared for the day.


Above all, be selfless

This pandemic has the ability to bring together communities to support and help the most vulnerable.

From a personal perspective, children with autism often have very restricted diets. They might only eat sausages from one specific brand. They are not fussy; it is part of their disability. If you bulk-buy their sausages, they cannot eat. Simple. Please don't do it. 

And now that there are restrictions imposed on the elderly and vulnerable let's try and help them. If you are fit and well, go to the shop for them - be there for them.


If you do all of this, you'll feel better, I promise.