The KCN office is now closed due to the Coronavirus measures, and all activities and services from the office have been cancelled including massage therapies, counselling, support group meetings and craft clubs.

Staff are still working from home, but where possible, please contact the office by email as this will help us to pass your queries to the right staff member.

We will send regular communications with any updates and useful information and contacts.

 

A Message from Liz:

Dear Carers
 
I am now working from home at present and would like to support you all if at all possible. I’m not sure how !  If you would like a call please let me know. Happy just to have a chat with any of you whilst I am well and working.
I am sorry all Wellbeing Groups are closed until further notice. This is going to be a very difficult time for you all. I have found some useful info which is attached, and we will be sending out regular ebulletins to keep in touch.
Also, from next week we hope to be sending exercise videos from Kat our fitness instructor, so sign up to our newsletter.
We will also be adding further information, helpline numbers and useful contacts soon.

Wishing you all well. 

Best wishes Liz

Email me at activities@kingstoncarers.org.uk

 

Find yourself checking the news?
 
Some helpful advice circulating on managing worry, anxiety and uncertainty around Corona from @from_the_other_chair. 
 
If you are finding yourself constantly checking the news and social media maybe ask yourself the questions below when you have the urge to check.
 
Stop and take the time to work through this decision matrix before automatically opening the news. If you can put off checking for a few minutes, the urge may in fact subside for a while, giving you time to engage in something soothing rather than threat inducing.

In addition, you might want to:
✔️ Turn off all news / social media notifications on your phone
✔️ When checking the news / googling, limit the amount of time you are doing it - and set a timer if needed
✔️ Limit the number of places you are checking - stick to one or two trusted sources
✔️ Have a pre-prepared list of activities you can do to self soothe / distract yourself from the urge to check - get creative and imaginative
✔️ It can be helpful to set specific times of the day to check - e.g. 9am and 5pm
✔️ Avoid checking the news for at least 30 minutes after you wake up and an hour before going to bed

#ManagingAnxiety #CopingWithCoronavirusAnxiety

 

OCD and Coronavirus Top Tips

If you're like us, the last thing you want to do is read yet another article or social media post about the coronavirus outbreak (or to give it the official name, COVID-19), but the ongoing public health concerns around the coronavirus outbreak have left many people with OCD (and without) extremely anxious and distressed, something Ashley blogged about earlier last week.

Because of the increased media coverage, much of which is unhelpful, we wanted to share some practical suggestions to help you cope and survive the ongoing situation. Our top tips are to help you differentiate between the recommended public health advice for this virus and from OCD induced behaviours, but also to help you combine therapeutic steps whilst engaging in these recommended behaviours.

20 seconds, and not a second longer!
The advice from health professionals is to be careful not to touch our nose and mouth and regularly wash our hands for 20 seconds. We know that this gives the OCD monster the perfect motive to come crashing in and try to disrupt all the hard work you have put in during recovery. So, here’s where you can still stay in control of the bully. You must ONLY wash your hands as frequently as the health professionals tell you to, and only for 20 seconds. We know all too well how it feels to hear that bully voice in your brain saying, ‘just one more time’ or ‘just a few seconds longer’. Before we know it, its escalated to five times, 5 minutes per time. Remember the limits and stick to them… you CAN do this.

Challenge your OCD in other ways
Since behavioural exercises has taken a diversion for some individuals during recovery, we need to be mindful of other ways we can keep on top of things. If there are other behavioural exercises you can be working on, which stay in line with the health professional’s advice on COVID-19, do them.

Don’t allow OCD to dictate self-isolation
It is important we only self-isolate if we have genuine symptoms of COVID-19. This is where it gets tricky for OCD sufferers because as we all know too well, OCD likes to play tricks on us. It is no secret that when someone with OCD is fixating on an obsession, it causes physical sensations in the body. We read that the virus causes shortness of breath and before we know it, we are panicked, inevitably causing shortness of breath. Remember your therapy techniques!

Limit yourself to time spent on social media
We are all guilty of it. Whenever you get a spare second to flick through Facebook, twitter and Instagram. However, at the moment there’s more scaremongering than ever. The media are desperately relying on clickbait from our panicked society to sell headlines and it is working. Limit yourself on how long you spend on there and focus on the real facts. Educate yourselves through real factual evidence and ignore articles with fake news. Good examples for factual information are gov.uk, NHS111 and the BBC News

You can still do therapy
I have Coronavirus, I have Coronavirus, I have Coronavirus, I have Coronavirus. Be your own therapist, think about exercises that you can do, like getting used to the thought. Put a sign on your door; ‘I have coronavirus’ and help your OCD get used to the thought… we don’t have to like the thought, we don’t want the thought to become a reality, we just have to accept the thought without reaching for the soap.

You can still....
Social media and the newspapers are full of what you can't do, so it may be helpful to remember what is still possible, even if you have to self-isolate.
✔️ You can still: Listen to your favourite music
✔️ You can still: Talk and Skype family and friends
✔️ You can still: Read your favourite book/s
✔️ You can still: Enjoy the outdoors, even if it's your own garden in the short term
✔️ You can still: Sing or dance at home (even if both are best behind closed doors!)
✔️ You can still: Smile and laugh (don't let OCD stop either, it will try, we don't have to let it stop us smiling or laughing)
✔️ You can still: Watch your favourite TV or films (we recommend the fun, laugh out loud variety!)
✔️ You can still: Have HOPE for a life beyond isolation without OCD

 

Stay healthy and active during self-isolation:

Take care of your mind: Staying at home may be difficult, but you are helping to protect yourself and others by doing it. Here are some tips and advice to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing, and cope with how you may feel while staying at home. If you are worried about coronavirus, check out 10 ways you can help improve your mental health and wellbeing if you are worried or anxious about the coronavirus outbreak. Please make sure to get further support if you need it.

Take care of your body: Being healthier is not just about doing the right thing – it's about making changes to fit your lifestyle and make you feel good. There are simple changes you can make every day to help you be healthier.

Stay home, stay active: It's important to stay healthy and connected during these unprecedented times. Whilst our gyms and leisure centres may have temporarily closed their doors, there are some great online resources to keep fit at home.

Stimulation for older adults: Keeping occupied and stimulated can be challenging during lockdown but the Health Innovation network have put together a guide to online resources/activities for people in isolation. Although it is aimed at older people with dementia, it is a lovely resource for everyone. Alzheimer's Society has more activity ideas for people living with dementia and Age UK have tips on looking after your thinking skills, which include learning a new language, or taking up a new hobby or activity. There's a variety of activities you can do from home such as:

  • growing your own herbs in your kitchen or garden
  • playing board and card games
  • trying a jigsaw, crossword or Sudoku puzzle
  • playing a musical instrument you have played in the past or learning a new instrument from scratch (Kingston Music Service are now providing online music lessons)
  • starting an art or craft project eg. scrapbooking, model building, knitting/crocheting, drawing/painting or getting creative with an adult colouring book
  • baking a savoury or sweet treat (you could try making homemade bread, savoury bakesbiscuits, scones or cakes)
  • trying out some new recipes in the kitchen (Jamie Oliver has easy-to-follow and flexible recipes ideal for lockdown)

Keep the children entertained: It can be tricky to find things to do that can hold the attention of children for long. Check out this list of indoor activities and get inspired to make your own fun! If you fancy learning to sing or play an instrument, Kingston Music Service are now providing online music lessons.

 

Dealing with loss

Bereavement is one of the toughest things any of us will ever go through. The current isolation and social distancing measures in place in response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak can make the situation particularly difficult. People are not able to be with their loved ones to offer comfort and support in person, and limits on who is able to attend funerals often means difficult choices have to be made, making it a more even more challenging time for those most affected.

To offer support, Connected Kingston has put together some resources and guides on how to cope with a loved one's death and where to go for more information and advice.

Kingston Bereavement Service continues to offer counselling and support to children, young people and adults who live, work or study in Kingston.

 

For further information contact Liz on 0203 559 2824 / 07551 647 448 or email me at activities@kingstoncarers.org.uk.