Managing MS and stress amidst the Covid-19 pandemic
With the UK currently advised to remain at home as far as possible for the near future in order to manage the spread of coronavirus, mental health professionals are concerned about the toll this may take on people’s stress levels and overall mental and emotional health.
Anxiety and depression are reasonably common symptoms for someone living with multiple sclerosis (MS), and stress is something which can compound other symptoms and even trigger relapse.
Encouraging positive self-management and a healthy lifestyle, as far as possible, during the Covid-19 pandemic, is essential for professionals supporting those with MS at present.
Taking control of, prioritising and independently monitoring, physical health aspects such as movement and exercise, nutrition, and good sleep hygiene are important, especially as most regular appointments to manage MS will need to be done remotely at the moment.
Encouraging everyone, but particularly those who are likely to experience stress in a more significant way, to be aware of, and practice positive ways of reducing, their stress levels at this time is essential.
The HLS workstream for ‘Raising the Bar for MS’ has pulled together some useful resources from sources like the World Health Organisation.
The aim is to support patients and their families, as well as the wider public, in proactively and positively addressing their stress levels. This will help protect their mental health and emotional wellbeing, lower their risk of relapse, and keep them as well as possible during this pandemic.
Resources to share:
- Helping children cope with stress (the WHO)
- Briefing note on addressing mental health and psychosocial aspects of COVID-19 Outbreak (IASC)
- ‘FACE COVID’ (Dr Russ Harris)
- ‘Seven crucial research findings that can help people deal with COVID-19’ (American Psychological Association)
- The MS Society, the MS Trust and Overcoming MS have information on the link between MS and stress, as well as ideas on how to help manage stress on a day to day basis.
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