The coronavirus outbreak is an unprecedented time for everyone. Measures we must take to limit the spread of the virus lead to big changes to the way we live our lives. We all react differently to situations, but it’s important you look after your mental health as well as your physical health during this time.
The government has published advice on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Here are some of the ways you can take care of your mind:
- Consider how to connect with others: Maintaining relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Take a look at some of our ideas about how you can connect with others.
- Help and support others: Helping others could make a big difference to them and make you feel better too. Find out how you can help out in your local area.
- Talk about your worries: This is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope with family and friends can help. If you don’t feel able to do this, there are a range of NHS recommended helplines and in Dorset, you can call the Connection phoneline on 0300 123 5440 to be signposted to the support you need.
- Look after your physical wellbeing: Your physical health can have a big impact on how you’re feeling. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise inside where possible or outside once a day. Take a look at these ideas for getting active at home.
- Look after your sleep: Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep good sleep practices – like avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment. The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.
- Try to manage difficult feelings: Focus on the things you can control, including where you get information from and actions to make yourself feel prepared. Every Mind Matters provides further information on how to manage anxiety.
- Manage your media and information intake: 24/7 news and social media can make you more worried. If you find this is affecting you, try to limit the amount of time you spend keeping up with what’s going on.
- Get the facts: Use a credible source you can trust such as UK, or the NHS website, and fact check information that you get from newsfeeds, social media or from other people. Try not to share information without fact-checking against credible sources too.
- Think about your new routine: Life is changing for us all for a while. Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines – try to engage in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or calling a friend)
- Do things you enjoy: Focussing on your favourite hobby, learning something new or simply taking time to relax indoors should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can boost your mood.
- Set goals: Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose – think about things you want or need to do that you can still do at home.
- Keep your mind active: Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, sudokus, jigsaws or drawing and painting. Find something that works for you.
- Take time to relax and focus on the present: Relaxation techniques can also help some people to deal with feelings of anxiety. For useful resources see Every Mind Matters and NHS’ mindfulness page.
- Get outside or bring nature in: Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. Sit in your garden if you can, open windows to let in fresh air or look at a nice view or some photos. Remember that social distancing guidelines enable you to go outside to exercise once a day as long as you keep 2 metres apart from others who are not members of your household group.
- Take action for happiness. Stay calm, be wise, be kind. Let's take action to look after ourselves and each other as we face this global crisis. We may be physically apart, but we can still be together. Learn more or download the app at actionforhappiness.org
How are you taking care of your wellbeing?
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