Coronavirus: How to look after your mental wellbeing
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The experience of the coronavirus outbreak has been different for everyone but there’s no doubt it’s been a difficult time for many. That’s why it is so important to take time to look after our mental health and wellbeing, reaching out if you need support.
Ten simple tips for looking after our mental wellbeing while at home are available on the NHS Every Mind Matters website.
With expert advice and practical tips, everymindmatters.co.uk acknowledges: “Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more.”
The site advises on such subjects as staying at home, job and money worries, worries about coronavirus, working from home, sleeping better, help for parents and guardians, bereavement and coping with loneliness.
The latter section offers seven simple tips titled explore ways to spend time together, be more social and check in regularly, share your feelings but do not compare, do more things you enjoy, stay busy by learning something new, volunteer to help others and join an online community.
The valuable resource also provides information on managing stress, anxiety and low mood as well as looking after children’s mental health. Everyone reacts differently so it is OK to feel worried or anxious. For most of us, these feelings will pass.
Staying at home during lockdown may be difficult but you’re helping protect yourself and others by doing so.
TEN SIMPLE STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO BOOST YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
1 STAY CONNECTED WITH OTHERS
Think about ways to stay in touch with friends and family by phone, messaging, video calls or social media.
2 TALK ABOUT YOUR WORRIES
If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead.
3 SUPPORT AND HELP OTHERS
Helping someone else can benefit you as well as them, so try to be a little more understanding of other people’s concerns, worries or behaviours at this time. Try to think of things you can do to help those around you.
4 FEEL PREPARED
As the outbreak continues, it can help to work through what changes to guidelines mean for you so you feel more prepared and less concerned.
5 LOOK AFTER YOUR BODY
Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking, drugs or drinking too much alcohol.
6 STICK TO THE FACTS
Find a credible source you can trust and fact-check information you get from newsfeeds, social media or other people. Think about how possibly inaccurate information could affect others too. Try not to share information without fact-checking against credible sources.
7 STAY ON TOP OF DIFFICULT FEELINGS
Concern about the coronavirus outbreak and your health is normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their day-to-day life. Try to focus on the things you can control, such as how you act, who you speak to and where you get information from.
8 CARRY ON DOING THINGS YOU ENJOY
Make an effort to focus on your favourite hobby if it is something you can still do at home. Or start a new hobby: read, write, do crosswords or jigsaws, bake, or try drawing and painting.
9 FOCUS ON THE PRESENT
Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can help with difficult emotions and improve our wellbeing.
10 LOOK AFTER YOUR SLEEP
Try to maintain your regular sleeping pattern – good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel.
HELP IS AT HAND
Every Mind Matters: Advice, videos and helplines to help cope with lockdown are available at everymindmatters.co.uk
Talking therapies: If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety or depression, NHS talking therapies offer a free, effective and confidential way to treat common mental health issues. You can speak to your GP for a referral or self-refer via nhs.uk/talk
24/7 mental health support: Urgent mental health support is available to all adults and children. Support is available, even if services seem busy at the moment because of coronavirus. Find your local NHS helpline at nhs.uk/urgentmentalhealth