Taking care of your well-being and mental health
Self-isolation can be hard, especially when it is for a prolonged period. This page is designed as a resource to help you cope during this uncertain and often bewildering time. For information about current government guidance, please see our coronavirus advice page.
It is understandable that anyone with a brain tumour, or caring for someone with a brain tumour, may be feeling more anxious during this difficult time. We are here for you if you need guidance, information or emotional support – our dedicated Support Line 01454 422701(9am-5pm, Monday-Friday), Brain Tumour Support Workers and our Facebook Support Forum are all available to you.
Asking for help
It’s OK to ask for help. So many people are feeling so helpless at the moment – helping someone else gives them a sense of purpose, so you could be making someone else happy by asking for help! It is important that you know what you need help with. Make a list of things you need help with so that when someone asks, you can give them a specific task (eg "I need six eggs and some milk." or "Please could you send me a text message every day to say hello.")
Mental health advice
It’s okay – it is common to feel like this
You’re not alone in feeling anxious or worried. Many people struggle to cope at one point or another and going through a range of emotions during this time is common. Dealing with uncertainty is difficult and it’s ok to feel anxious or overwhelmed. Acknowledge your feelings. Don’t ignore them.
You are not alone
When people are going through a tough time it can often feel that you have no-one to turn to. Even if you don’t have family or friends close by, you are never alone. Our support services are still available, either on the phone, via video chat, by email and via Facebook.
Separate what is in your control from what is not
There are things you can do, and it’s helpful to focus on those. Wash your hands. Remind others to wash theirs. Take your vitamins. Limit your consumption of news (Do you really need to know what is happening on a cruise ship you aren’t on?). Be really aware of what you’re thinking. Sometimes we are catastrophising, we're focusing on all these ‘what ifs?’ Bring things back to what you actually know. It’s important to make sure you are doing the usual self-management of your condition. Anxiety and the release of stress hormones can exacerbate physical symptoms.
Get outside in nature but avoid crowds
Walk the dog or walk around the block, it doesn’t matter. Exercise helps both your physical and mental health.
Challenge yourself to stay in the present
Perhaps your worry is compounding—you are not only thinking about what is currently happening, but also projecting into the future. When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently bring yourself back to the present moment. Notice the sights, sounds, tastes and other sensory experiences in your immediate moment and name them. Engaging in mindfulness activities is one way to help stay grounded when things feel beyond your control.
Stay connected and reach out if you need more support
Talk to trusted friends about what you are feeling. If you are feeling particularly anxious or if you are struggling with your mental health, it’s ok to reach out to a mental health professional for support. You don’t have to be alone with your worry and it can be comforting to share what you are experiencing with those trained to help.
We will get through this
Everyone feels low at some point in their lives and if you’re struggling to cope it may be difficult to see beyond your current situation. Talking about how you’re feeling can help put things into perspective and help you to feel more positive about the future.
Activities to improve mental health
Start a blog or diary - writing can be cathartic and rewarding
Do some creative writing - start that novel you've always wanted to write
Have a clear out - a spring clear is good for the soul
Have a digital clear out - delete old files, upgrade software, update passwords
Write letters of emails contact old friends - they would love to hear from you
Make that photo album you've been meaning to make for years - dig out those boxes of pictures
Get creative - crafting, sewing, painting
Use video calling to connect with friends and family - there are many different platforms you can use
Sign up to an online course - yoga, Spanish, sign language, typing, painting...whatever takes your fancy
Do exercise in your living room - stream videos to your TV or phone
Virtual choirs - connect with others who enjoy singing
Get into your garden - do those jobs that you've put off
Board games and puzzles - get the family together and away from the screen
Mindfulness and meditation - take a few minutes every day to breathe and relax