Coronavirus - Looking after your mental health

How to look after your mental wellbeing during coronavirus (COVID-19)

As we have to stay at home more it is important to take care of our mind as well as our body.

woman looking out of window

It is common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. It is OK to feel this way, share your concerns with others you trust or you could try a charity helpline or webchat.

Here are some tips and advice on how we can keep on top of our mental wellbeing and cope during times of uncertainty. Share these with friends and family to look after yourself and those you care about.

1. Connect with others

Maintaining healthy relationships with people we trust is important. Stay connected via email, social media, FaceTime and telephone.  Adjust your social media intake if it is making you anxious. If you haven’t got anyone to talk to you can call emotional support lines like SANEline & the Samaritans.

2. Be active

dancing to music at home

Our physical health affects how we feel. It is important to eat healthily, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Build physical activity into your daily routine for example cleaning your home, dancing to music, seated exercise or online workouts.

3. Take notice & focus on the present

watering plants

Engage with nature. Open the windows  to get fresh air, watch the birds, make the most of any private outdoor space, tend to houseplants, listen to natural sounds apps.  If you have a private garden spend time outside.

mind body and soul

4. Stick to the facts & limit your news intake

Do not stay glued to the news. A constant stream of news can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit to checking a couple of times a day – use trustworthy sources such as GOV.UK or NHS website.

5. Have a routine

Maintain a sense of routine and try to follow your ordinary routine as much as possible.  Wake up and go to bed at healthy times, get enough sleep. Include time to relax.

If you aren’t happy with your usual routine this might be a change to do things different. For example go to bed earlier, spend more time cooking or others things you don’t usually have time for.

gardening

6. Keep learning & do things you enjoy

Keep your mind active - Do something you enjoy. Find something of value in your day – do something for yourself (download a podcast, watch a box set, art and crafts, cooking, gardening, reading a book, DIY or take a free online course). 

7. Offer support and help others

Helping others makes you feel good. If you are able to try and think of things you can do to help those around you safely and in line with official guidance. Check in with friends, neighbours or colleagues who may be self-isolating  or vulnerable. Find out how you can help here.

8. Keep your children informed

Explain the facts but try to avoid scare stories and over-exposure to the news. Be as truthful as possible. See talking with your children about world news.

9. Take care of your immediate environment.

As you are spending a lot of time at home, you may find it helpful to keep things clean and tidy. If you live with other people, it could help to decide together how you’ll use different spaces for example spaces for work.

10. Working from home

working from home

Working from home can be challenging and isolating. It is good to keep a structured day, with a routine for work and to keep both formal and social connections flowing with colleagues. Find tips for working at home.

 

Useful links for looking after your mental health during coronavirus

Helplines

  • SANEline - Tel: 0300 304 7000 4.30pm-10.30pm daily
  • Samaritans - Tel: 116 123
  • Shout Crisis Text line – Text Shout to 85258
  • Young Minds, Parents Helpline: 0808 802 5544

 Official Guidance

Useful local Contacts

Mental Health Crisis             

  • If you or someone needs urgent mental health crisis support you can call the Urgent Care team on 01908 724365 or call 999 or 111
  • For non-urgent mental health issues contact your GP

Bereavement Support

Bereavement, grief and loss can cause many different symptoms and they affect people in different ways. It is a difficult experience under any situation and is taking place under very challenging circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic. Because of this, it is really important that people bereaved by any cause at this time are cared for and receive support, especially in the first days and weeks following their bereavement. 

We know that early self-care, care from people immediately around us, and care from others too, can mean that it is easier, over time, to make a recovery, with good mental health. See further information on bereavement support (PDF, 4MB).

Last Updated: 7 May 2020