It’s more important than ever that we all take care of our mental wellbeing, so we’ve collected the Top 12 Tips from the NHS for looking after your mental health while staying at home.
1) Work out your finances
You may be worried about work and money if your family income has changed because we all have to stay at home – these issues can have a big effect on your mental health. Facing into these changes and coming up with a plan may help reduce any anxiety or stress you’re feeling.
If you’re self isolating and have not done so already, talk with your People Manager about what support we can offer you. This can reduce worry and help you feel more in control.
Work out when and how you’ll get groceries. If you can’t leave the house, you could order a Food Box of essential groceries. If you need regular medicine, you might be able to order repeat prescriptions by phone, or online via a website or app. Contact your GP or Pharmacy and ask what options may be available to you.
You should continue accessing treatment and support for any existing physical or mental health problems where possible. If you support or care for others, either in your home or by visiting them regularly, think about who can help out while you are staying at home. Carers UK has further advice on creating a contingency plan if you care for others.
Maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Think about how you can stay in touch with loved ones while you’re at home – by phone, messaging, video calls or online – whether it’s people you usually see often, or reconnecting with old friends or neighbours. Lots of people are finding the current situation difficult, so staying in touch could help them too.
There are lots of apps you could try, like Houseparty (Google Chrome // iOS) or Zoom (Android // iOS // web) which support video calls with multiple friends or family who may be staying at home or isolating elsewhere.
It’s normal to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember, it’s OK to share your concerns with others you trust – doing so could help them too. Or you could try a charity helpline or webchat.
wellbeing partner and other organisations offers free, confidential emotional support and are available 24/7 need help for a specific issue or worry, our Looking After Your Mind section contains a more comprehensive list of professional support organisations. The NHS also provides a list of recommended helplines, available here
Our physical health really affects how we feel. Try to make sure you and your family eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly.
Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol. It can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse.
Get outside for a walk or a run if you can, or if you’re self-isolating try a follow-along home-workout videos. See the Looking After Your Body section for more ideas and resources
Concern about the coronavirus outbreak is perfectly normal. However, in the current environment many people are feeling more anxious than ever or finding it more challenging to keep a positive outlook. Recognising your mood so you can take the right steps to get back on track is important, and the NHS site here has some useful resources, including a mood self assessment quiz, and audio guides to help you boost your mood.
With such a rapidly evolving situation like Coronavirus, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of reading every update as it comes through from around the world. However, this can cause anxiety to mount up and prevent you from relaxing. Try to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak, including on social media, and think about turning off breaking-news alerts on your phone.
You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to checking a couple of times a day.
Life is changing for all of us for a while, but it’s important that you try and do something you enjoy regularly like you would any other time. Even though socialising face to face is out, many hobbies can still be done at home – or pick something new to learn. There’s free tutorials out there and lots of new groups springing up on social media too, like group quizzes and music concerts. Think about how you can try and create new routines in the current environment and even write a plan for your day or week that includes useful activities, like cooking and cleaning, and meaningful activities, like reading or calling a friend.
This can help with difficult emotions and worries, and improve our wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help deal with feelings of anxiety.
Our Mindfulness section has lots of tips and resources for to help you be mindful and feel more relaxed.
Life is changing for a while and whether you are staying at home or social distancing, you are likely to see some disruption to your normal routine. Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines and set yourself goals.
You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week. If you are working from home, try to get up and get ready in the same way as normal, keep to the same hours you would normally work and stick to the same sleeping schedule.
You could set a new time for a daily home workout, and pick a regular time to clean, read, watch a TV programme or film, or cook.
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.
Our Sleep page has more information and resources to help you catch some more zzzz’s
Read, write, play games, do crosswords, complete sudoku puzzles, finish jigsaws, or try drawing and painting. Boredom can contribute to low mood and a build-up of anxiety.
Whatever it is, find something that works for you!