Looking after your Mental Health and Wellbeing during the Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic

If you can, access open spaces near to your home.

The coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak is having an impact on everyone’s daily lives.

Everyone reacts differently, but these changes can lead to people feeling bored, frustrated or lonely. People may feel low, worried, anxious, or be concerned about their health or that of those close to them. 

It’s important that you take care of your mind as well as your body and to get further support if you need it.

Here are some things to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing during the Coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak.

Think about your new daily routine

Life will be different for us all for a while. Think about how you are going to use your time.

  • Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines, whether you’re working from home or not. 
  • Consider useful activities such as cleaning, cooking or exercise.
  • Think about meaningful activities such as learning a new skill, reading or calling a friend.
  • It can help to write a plan for the week. 
  • Now working from home? We’ve got lots of practical information and advice for both employers and employees in our Working from Home blog.

Look after your physical wellbeing

Physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. 

  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Exercise inside where possible. Check out these free easy 10 minute work outs from Public Health England or other exercise videos from the NHS Fitness Studio.
  • Exercise outside once a day. Consider walking, running or gardening. Remember to stay the recommended 2 metres from others as outlined in the social distancing guidance.
  • If you can’t get outside, open your windows to let in fresh air, arrange your space to sit and see a nice view (if possible) and get some natural sunlight.
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs.
Get outside for exercise such as a walk or a run once a day.

Consider how to connect with others

Keeping in touch with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. 

  • Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media.
  • Think about keeping in touch with people you normally see often or connect with old friends.

Help and support others

Think about how you could help those around you.

  • Helping others could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too.
  • Could you message a friend or family member nearby? 
  • Perhaps you could volunteer as a GoodSAM NHS Voluntary Responder.

Do things you enjoy

Focussing on your favourite hobby, learning something new or relaxing indoors can boost your mood.

  • Try to do things you enjoy. If you need to, think about how you could adapt the things you usually enjoy so that you can do them at home.
  • Try something new. Search for free tutorials and courses online to help.
  • People are coming up with innovative online solutions like online pub quizzes and streamed live music concerts.

Keep your mind active

Find something that works for you.

  • Read, write, play games.
  • Do crossword puzzles, sudokus, jigsaws.
  • Try drawing and painting.
Read books and relax.

Set goals

Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose.

  • Think about things you want or need to do that you can still do at home. 
  • It could be watching a film, reading a book or learning something online.

Look after your sleep

Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically.

  • Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns.
  • Avoid screens and caffeine before bed.
  • Create a restful environment. The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.

Take time to relax and focus on the present

This can help with difficult emotions, anxiety, and can improve wellbeing. 

Take time to relax and do things you enjoy.

Get the facts

Gather high-quality information so you know what’s going on.

  • It’s important to find a credible source you can trust such as GOV.UK, or the NHS website.
  • Fact check information that you get from newsfeeds, social media or from other people.
  • Try not to share information without fact-checking against credible sources, because inaccurate information can affect other people.

Manage your media and information intake

24-hour news and constant social media updates can make you more worried. 

  • Think about limiting the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to media coverage of the outbreak. 
  • It may help to only check the news at set times or limiting to a couple of checks a day.

Talk about your worries

It is common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. 

  • This is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope with family and friends can help them too.
  • There are people you can speak to via NHS recommended helplines.
Talk to people you know or access helplines. A range of communication channels exist these days to help keep us connected and supported.

Try to manage difficult feelings

Many people find the news about coronavirus (COVID-19) concerning. However, some people may experience such intense anxiety that it becomes a problem. 

  • Try to focus on the things you can control, including where you get information from and actions to make yourself feel better prepared.
  • It is okay to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control right now but constant repetitive thoughts about the situation which lead you to feel anxious or overwhelmed are not helpful. 
  • The Every Mind Matters page on anxiety and NHS mental wellbeing audio guides provide further information on how to manage anxiety.

Where to get further support during the Coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak

  • Some people may experience short-lived physical symptoms when their mood is low or anxious. There’s lots of advice from the NHS on managing physical symptoms.
  • If you are concerned about your physical symptoms, you can contact NHS 111 online.
  • For advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) and any symptoms see the NHS website.
  • If you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood, you can use the NHS mental health and wellbeing advice website for self-assessment, audio guides and practical tools.
  • Every Mind Matters provides simple tips and advice on mental health. 
  • If your daily life is being affected by your mental health you can contact NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 if you don’t have internet access.
  • In a medical emergency call 999. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. A mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a physical health emergency.
  • Samaritans has a free to call service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, if you want to talk to someone in confidence. Call them on 116 123.
  • You can find simple breathing exercise on the NHS website and Mind’s pages on relaxation have some relaxation tips and exercises you can try.
  • Mind has games and puzzles you can use to distract yourself, and breathing exercises which may help.
  • If you are already receiving mental health care, contact your mental health team to discuss how care will continue, and to update safety/care plans.
  • There is lots of useful advice provided by Mind.
  • See further advice from the NHS on dealing with a mental health crisis.
  • Mind also provides information about how to plan for a crisis.
  • Find local crisis support services near you that can support you.

We’re here to help

If you’d like to discuss anything featured in this article, ask for further help, or look at our Mental Health First Aid training, just get in touch – we love to help!

We love to help!