Looking after your mental health
Coronavirus and mental wellbeing
While it appears that COVID-19 is going to be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future, we need to learn to live with it and manage the risk to ourselves and others. While no situation is risk free, there are actions we can take to protect ourselves and others around us, see the guidance on the UK Government website. If you are worried about returning to a more ‘normal’ life, there is information on the Every Mind Matters website on how to cope with anxiety about getting "back to normal".
Although this has been a time of uncertainty, following reliable sources of information from central and local government and the NHS, and avoiding sources of information which are prone to sensationalise, can help to reduce anxiety and provide clarity.
Five ways to wellbeing
Evidence points to five steps that we can take to improve our mental wellbeing, see the Mind website for more information. If you give them a try, you may feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from your life.
If you approach them with an open mind and try them, you can judge the results yourself.
- Be active
Keeping physically active is important for our physical and mental health and wellbeing. You don't have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find the activity that you enjoy, and make it a part of your life. See our Being active pages or visit the NHS website for more information about the mental benefits of exercise.
If you are not able to get out, being physically active in your home or garden will also be good for your health. Get up and walk around regularly, make a cuppa, do some light housework, or do some gardening if you have a garden. Avoid long periods of not moving at all, particularly when online or working from home. Take regular breaks from the screen – do ten sit-to-stand moves from your chair or some arm raises above your head. All movement counts!
There are also lots of options for online exercise which you can do in your living room, see the websites below:
Other useful websites include:
- Keep learning
Learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike? See our Learning and volunteering page or visit the NHS website.
Connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships. See our Social relationships page for more information or visit the NHS website.
It has never been easier to stay connected to the outside world and with our support networks from our homes. Using technology can be a great way of maintaining connections if you are not able to meet up in person.
- Give to others
Even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks. See our Learning and volunteering page or visit the NHS website.
- Take notice
Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
Read more about mindfulness on the NHS website, including steps you can take to be more mindful in your everyday life.
In addition to the resources above, further information and support as well as positive ideas to keep mentally well are available on these websites: