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Managing difficult feelings or behaviours to do with hygiene, washing or fears of infection

Some mental health problems can cause difficult feelings or behaviours to do with washing or hygiene. If you experience this, you might find it hard to hear advice about washing your hands.

It is important to follow government advice on helping to avoid the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), but if you find you are going beyond the recommendations, if this is making you feel stressed or anxious, or if you are having intrusive thoughts here are some things you could try:

  • Don’t keep re-reading the same advice if this is unhelpful for you
  • Let other people know you’re struggling, for example, you could ask them not to discuss the news with you
  • Breathing exercises can help you cope and feel more in control
  • Set limits, like washing your hands for the recommended 20 seconds
  • Plan something to do after washing your hands, which could help distract you and change your focus.

 

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