Free online sessions begin this week to help people manage related stress and anxiety during COVID-19 pandemic.
Teeside University has announced the launch of a series of free online sessions to help people with long-term health conditions, including diabetes, cope with living conditions under lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The course aims to address the ongoing implications of lockdown, to help people with long-term conditions to manage related stress and anxiety, while social distancing measures are in place through creative activities.
The MyCreativeLife sessions running throughout May are designed for people with any type of long-term health condition, including anxiety, asthma, chronic pain, diabetes, dystonia, epilepsy, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, with the objective of supporting their adjustment to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Stephanie Kilinç, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law at Teeside University, is running three initial live sessions, that will also be available to family members, friends and carers, over the age of 18.
Dr Kilinç said: “I wanted to do something to help people with long-term health conditions during this extremely challenging time. During the sessions, individuals will be supported to reflect upon their self-management and wellbeing by taking part in some simple creative activities.
“You do not have to be a great artist to get involved in these sessions. Instructions and templates will be provided and joiners will not need any special materials – paper and pens or pencils will be enough. The sessions themselves will be supported by people with long-term conditions, who know first-hand what it is like to live with a condition like those who join our discussions.”
The programme can be used alongside Dr Kilinç’s MyLifeTool, a self-management tool for people with long-term health conditions, launched last year as a pilot research project prior to Covid-19.
Dr Kilinç added: “MyLifeTool sees self-management as a journey towards finding or maintaining meaning and purpose in life. It is an ongoing process that you approach from your own perspective, to fit with your life, aims and needs, and reflecting on what does and does not work for you is a large part of this. There is no end point for this tool and it can be used as and when you need it.
“We ran a face-to-face version of this programme from January to March, with very positive feedback from clients. They told us that taking part in the programme helped to improve their goal setting, encouraged them to be kinder and less critical of themselves, and gave them the chance to share their experiences with others who understand what it is like to live with a long-term condition. The creative activities in each session helped clients to reflect on a specific issue, such as how they see themselves and how they interact with others, so our response to Covid-19 is directly informed by this pilot project.”
The MyCreativeLife sessions, which will run on Microsoft Teams and last one hour each, are:
Thursday, 7th May, 3pm: What is important to me?
Thursday, 14th May, 3pm: Goal setting
Thursday, 21st May, 3pm: Connecting with others
Dr Kilinç said: “Attendees do not need a Microsoft Teams account and can just follow the web link for the sessions. Individuals can join the session anonymously and choose if they want people to see or just hear them in the group. They can even join the group with no video or sound and just watch and listen to the others in the group. It is a chance for people to socialise with others who understand what it is like to live with a long-term condition, whilst doing something fun and creative. The sessions may help improve goal setting, encourage individuals to be kinder to themselves, and give them a chance to share experiences with people who may have had similar experiences to them.”
For more information and links to join the sessions visit the MyCreativeLife website
DRWF operations during the COVID-19 health crisis
The DRWF team is now working remotely. COVID-19 guidance, particularly where it aligns or impacts with diabetes guidance, is shared as quickly as possible through the DRWF website and social media channels with the aim of making it as easy to understand as possible and a reliable source of latest news.