How to look after your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic
19 May 2020

Amidst of the coronavirus it’s easy to get carried away with our thoughts, not knowing what tomorrow will bring. Many of us started working from home, have been furloughed or got let go from our workplace and must face different challenges every day. One of the biggest challenges is protecting our mental health. Below you can find our top 10 tips to make this process easier.  

Personal wellbeing
Taking care of your mind as well as your body is important during this time. You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you. It’s important to remember that it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass. The tips and advice here are things you can do now to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may feel while staying at home. Make sure you get further support if you feel you need it.

It can be hard to find a positive given the current climate but try to use this time in a positive way:

  • Take up a new hobby
  • Learn that new skill you have never had time for
  • Read a book you never got around to
  • Play board games
  • Research something that interests you
  • Keep in touch with friends and family

Stay on top of difficult feelings
Try to focus on the things you can control, such as how you act, who you speak to and where you get information from. It’s fine to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, but if constant thoughts about the situation are making you feel anxious or overwhelmed, try some ideas to help manage your anxiety.

Be in the present
You can gain a better perspective if you take time to be aware of yourself and be in the present moment, noticing your own thoughts and feelings, and the world around you. Sometimes this is known as being more mindful. Mindfulness and meditation help you to be in the present. You can find free apps and videos that can help you with meditation and mindfulness on the internet.

Stay connected with others
Maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family while you are all staying at home – by phone, messaging, video calls or social media – whether it’s people you usually see often, or connecting with old friends.

Talk about your worries
It’s normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember, it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust – and doing so may help them too. If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead.

Look after your body
Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs and try not to drink too much alcohol. You can leave your house, alone or with members of your household, for one form of exercise a day – like a walk, run or bike ride. But make you keep a safe 2-metre distance from others.

Carry on doing things you enjoy
If we are feeling worried, anxious, lonely or low, we may stop doing things we usually enjoy. Try to focus on your favourite hobby if it is something you can still do at home. If not, picking something new to learn at home might help. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, and people are coming up with inventive ways to do things, like hosting online pub quizzes and music concerts.

Take time to relax
This can help with difficult emotions and worries and improve our wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help deal with feelings of anxiety.

Look after your sleep
Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel, so it’s important to get enough. Try to maintain your regular sleeping pattern and stick to good sleep practices.

Keep your mind active
Read, write, play games, do crosswords, complete sudoku puzzles, finish jigsaws, or try drawing and painting. Whatever it is, find something that works for you.

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