Coronavirus - Looking after your mental health
The coronavirus pandemic and the re-introduction of tighter restrictions may bring mixed and fluctuating feelings. You may have just started to resume the things you enjoy like playing sports, getting back to work, seeing friends and family (even at a social distance). There will now be changes to these activities and you will have to adapt routines you may have just started to develop.
You may move through a range of feelings and thoughts:
- stressed and unprepared
- anxious or afraid
- angry or frustrated
- conflicted or confused
- protective of your new routine
These feelings are reasonable and expected. You may have to learn to cope with new and changing situations. Be aware that it may take time to adjust to necessary changes – it is important to take things at your own pace and be kind to yourself.
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. Talking about how we are feeling can be really helpful. Stay connected via email, social media, video calling and telephone. If you haven’t got anyone to talk to or you are struggling, you can call emotional support lines like the NHS volunteer service who provide a ‘check in and chat’ service call 0808 196 3646 or one of the helplines listed under useful contacts section.
2) Be active. Our physical health affects how we feel. It is important to eat healthily, drink enough water and exercise regularly. If you can build simple physical activity into your daily routine for example a home work out, a run, gardening, dancing to music, or seated exercise. Visit www.nhs.uk/live well/exercise for information and advice.
3) Take notice and focus on the present. Engage with nature. Open the windows to get fresh air, watch the birds, tend to houseplants, listen to natural sounds apps. If you have a private garden spend time outside.
4) Stick to the facts and 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.
5) Have a routine. Wake up and go to bed at healthy times, get enough sleep. Include time to relax. Take note if new routines have helped you improve your mental wellbeing during lockdown. For tips on sleep visit the Every Mind Matters Sleep page
6) Do something you enjoy and keep your mind active. Find something of value in your day and do something for yourself (watch a favourite programme, do crosswords, art and crafts, cooking, gardening, reading a book).
7) Seek advice on work and finance. You might be worried about money, have lost your job or are concerned you might become unemployed – these issues can have a big impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Visit here for tips and advice on coping with money worries and job uncertainty during COVID-19.
8) Supporting a child or young person. The past few months have been hard on everyone, including our kids. But there are lots of things we can do to support them at this time. Be there to listen, stay involved in their life, support positive routines, encourage their interests, take what they say seriously. Find tips on supporting children or young people here.
9) Coping with winter. Some of the activities you have been doing to keep busy, may need to change slightly for the winter as the colder weather develops and in light of new restrictions . Mind have some useful tips on how to adapt your routine here.
Useful links for looking after your mental health during coronavirus
- Samaritans - Tel: 116 123
- Shout Crisis Text line – Text Shout to 85258
- Young Minds, Parents Helpline: 0808 802 5544
Useful local Contacts
- MK Talk for Change offers access to talking therapies and mental health care. Tel: 01908 725099 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kooth offers online counselling for young people
- Mind BLMK - existing services replaced with phone and/or email support. Tel: 0300 330 0648 or email@example.com
Mental Health Crisis
- CNWL Crisis line on 0800 023 4650 or call 999 or 111
- For non-urgent mental health issues contact your GP
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: 8 January 2021