As the current shielding period comes to an end on 16 August, Sina Gerhand, Trainee Clinical Psychologist from Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board, hosted a live Q&A session on 5 August to answer questions from patients and provide practical advice to help to manage stress and anxiety.

You can view the session here: https://youtu.be/Cm7DfDCLJ4A or read the report FINAL_Managing stress and anxiety as we start to un-shield_05.08.20.

Here are Sina’s top tips!

  • The stress bucket concept is a good tool to help manage stress. Find out more about the stress bucket here: https://www.kidneywales.cymru/news/2020/05/19/stress-bucket-exercise
  • Feelings of guilt and frustration around not being able to do what you are used to doing are understandable emotions. Coming to terms with the current scenario is difficult. Think about what you value about the activities you miss. Can you identify alternative activities that you can do which will help you appreciate those same values?
  • Feeling anxious and worried about un-shielding after many months of self-isolating is a common theme. The key thing will be to take small steps. Take a look at this video from the Psycho-Social Team at the University Hospital of Wales: https://youtu.be/yagNbkCoZGQ
  • Breathing exercises can help when we feel anxious: “if in doubt breath out!”. We want to breathe out more oxygen than we are taking in to calm down the body sensations we get with anxiety and stress. Practise when you feel calm and breathe into your abdomen.
  • Try thinking in terms of ‘circles of control’, the middle circle (the smallest circle of them all) is what you can control directly, the next (slightly larger circle) is what others can control.
  • Humans do not like uncertainty, we like to know what is happening. COVID has brought a lot of uncertainty with it which is extremely difficult to tolerate. One way of managing uncertainty is by applying the principles of APPLE: https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/apple2.htm
  • Try this mindfulness exercise to help ground yourself in the here and now. View this session by Psychologist Dr Catherine O’Leary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kv5K-4VwYIg
  • Coronavirus has changed the way we interact with people, for some it has meant shielding from family members and a real loss of close connections. There are self-soothing strategies that can be used to help when you are feeling down and upset: https://www.blessingmanifesting.com/2018/07/distress-tolerance-self-soothing.html

Links to further information: