You may now be living under some form of lockdown as the coronavirus continues to spread across the world.
Having to stay at home and being limited on how often you can leave your property could make you feel stressed, lonely, bored or anxious. Following the news may also leave you feeling worried.
But during this difficult time, there are things you can do to improve your mental wellbeing.
1. Keep in contact with family and friends
You can prevent or help this by keeping in touch with family and friends by phone, messaging, video calls and social media.
This could help the people you're contacting as well.
2. Stick to a regular routine and sleeping pattern
It can help to maintain some form of routine and this is an opportunity for you to plan your time exactly the way you want to spend it.
Create a routine that works for you.
For example, if you’re working from home it can help to get up and get ready in the same way you would normally. You could also set times to exercise, make meals, read or watch TV.
You may also want to speak to your employer about working flexible hours so you can incorporate more of the things you like into your day.
If you’re not working at the moment, it may help to keep busy. You could try:
- focusing on a hobby
- learning something new
- attending a virtual event
- preparing healthy, well-balanced meals
- exercising regularly with home workouts
Your sleep routine is also important. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time as this can help to regulate your body’s internal clock.
3. Make time for yourself
It’s important to make time to focus on your mental wellbeing and to process or reframe any negative thoughts or feelings you may be experiencing.
If you’re feeling anxious, mindfulness may help. This encourages you to turn your attention to the present moment, increasing your awareness of your thoughts, feelings and the world around you.
Breathing exercises can also help to make you feel more calm.
Some of the following mental health apps may also be useful:
- Wysa - this uses techniques including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), yoga and meditation to help you combat stress, anxiety and sleeping problems
- Calm - a meditation and relaxation aid to help you sleep better, reduce stress and manage anxiety
- eQuoo - an emotional fitness game designed to combat anxiety in young adults
4. Limit your exposure to news
You may find it helps to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to the news.
It can also help to only read news from trustworthy sources and to focus on the facts being reported.
You can manage this by:
- setting yourself specific times to read news updates, maybe once or twice per day
- turning off news alerts on your phone
- Taking a break from social media if people’s posts are upsetting you
5. Eat balanced meals and stay active
Cooking a healthy meal and staying active are not only useful ways to give your day structure but they’re also beneficial to your mental health.
Eating well and staying active can improve how you feel emotionally.
Try to eat a balanced diet, keep yourself hydrated (aim to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day) and exercise regularly to keep your energy levels up and stress levels down.
6. Seek help if you have a pre-existing mental health condition
If you already experience anxiety, depression or any other mental health condition you may find it harder to follow some of the recommended guidance.
For example, being confined to your property may make symptoms of an anxiety disorder or phobia worse, and advice about washing your hands may make obsessive compulsive disorder worse.
If you already receive therapy or support, find out how this can continue remotely, maybe by phone or online.
If you're still worried, contact a doctor. It's important to take steps to improve your mental wellbeing.
If you think you may have coronavirus, you can use our COVID-19 Symptom Mapper to check your symptoms and compare them with others around the world.
This should give you a better understanding of how the illness is affecting you and will help us to map the spread of the outbreak.
Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak [Internet]. Who.int. 2020 [cited 30 March 2020]. Available here.
New advice to support mental health during coronavirus outbreak [Internet]. GOV.UK. 2020 [cited 30 March 2020]. Available here.
Every Mind Matters | One You [Internet]. Nhs.uk. 2020 [cited 30 March 2020]. Available here.
Coronavirus and your wellbeing [Internet]. Mind.org.uk. 2020 [cited 30 March 2020]. Available here.