Coronavirus: Help for families and individuals
The government’s advice is that we all stay at home, and only leave for essential shopping, medicine, to go to work if you can’t do it from home, or to help a vulnerable person.
Anyone who normally qualifies for a flu jab, is being advised to shield themselves and not go out at all for the next 12 weeks, to protect themselves and the NHS.
Being asked to stay inside and not see friends and family is daunting, but there are lots of ways you can stay in touch, using social media for messages, or video calls. You should make sure you stay feeling connected even if you can’t physically be together. Lots of people will also be struggling so it will be helping them to make contact with them.
If you are shielding, you shouldn’t go out even to do shopping or for medicine, and should arrange for family or friends to do this for you and leave it on your doorstep. You could also arrange an online delivery from the supermarket.
If you usually collect your pension from the Post Office, you can now arrange for a trusted person to collect this on your behalf with your card. Find out how to give permission for a trust person to collect your pension for you on the Post Office website.
There are several food banks throughout the borough, and some of these can be viewed on our food bank map.
In addition, you can donate sanitary/toiletry products via the Hygiene Bank website.
Getting community support
If you want to help others in the community, you can also register your interest on our website. If you are part of a group that is helping others in the community, you can promote the work you're doing in your area on our website too.
Please be careful of accepting help from someone you don’t know – there are lots of scams at the moment. If you don’t feel comfortable don’t accept the help. There are lots of community groups who are working with the council and Ashford Volunteer Centre to help those in need. There are also technology scams around, including some claiming to be from the government offering you a tax refund, or that you must pay a fine for leaving your house more than once a day. If you are suspicious about any messages you receive, please delete or ignore them.
General wellbeing tips
If you can, stick to your routine – If it’s possible try to stick to the same wake up and bedtime every day. Waking up at a set time helps stabilise your internal clock and improves your sleep.
Eat well – Tempting though it is to polish off that packet of biscuits the sugar high will just be temporary. Support your emotional health by eating a balanced diet with a variety of fruit and vegetables. If you feel well in your body, you'll feel better off in your mind and soul.
Lose the booze – Alcohol has a depressive effect and can lower your mood and prevent you from getting good quality of sleep. Both are things that could result in you feeling less emotionally prepared for the extra demands and worries many of us are facing.
Learn to relax – Establishing barriers is especially important with many of us working from home. We are living in unprecedented times and it's easy to feel as though you need to be 'switched on' all the time. You MUST make time for yourself, time to relax and do something that brings you joy. If you don't look after yourself you'll find it harder to look after others.
Keep in touch – Humans are social animals and our current situation of staying at home is necessary to save lives but that shouldn't mean we don't stay in touch with others. Set aside time to call family, friends and colleagues. You could set up a regular chat to give you and your loved ones something to look forward to and establish a routine, which can really help emotional and mental wellbeing.
Be mindful – This doesn’t need to be full meditation unless this works for you. It could be reading, walking, painting, gardening, board games, jigsaws, colouring in, sewing, juggling, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, calling a friend or anything else that calms you. You could do a short online course to learn a new skill. You could discover a new hobby, plan a new trip you might like to take one day or reminisce and get the photos out of a past holiday. If you start overthinking during these times, recognise your thoughts and let them go.
Practical sleep tips
Keep regular hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time, will programme your body to sleep better.
Create a restful sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep and it should be neither too hot, nor too cold; and as quiet and dark as possible.
Take more exercise. Regular, moderate exercise such as swimming or walking can help relieve the day's stresses and strains. But not too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake!
Cut down on stimulants such as caffeine in tea or coffee - especially in the evening. They interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.
Don't over-indulge. Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, just before bedtime, can play havoc with sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but will interrupt your sleep later on in the night.
If you can't sleep, don't lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again – then go back to bed.