The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) is affecting everyone’s lives. You may feel bored, irritated, or lonely during this period. You may also be depressed, worried, nervous, or concerned for your own or others’ health. You may also be worried about the pandemic’s economic effects and how it might affect your work or finances. All of these are normal responses to the tough situation we find ourselves in. Everyone responds to events differently, and changes in how we think, feel, and behave differ between people and over time. It’s important that you look after both your mind and your body.
The majority of people will develop methods that work for them and for the unpleasant feelings they are experiencing as a result of the pandemic. Some individuals, especially those with a history of mental illness, may need additional assistance.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, this guide will include tips on how to maintain your mental health and well-being.
What would you do to improve your mental health and happiness?
Consider the everyday routine.
For both of us, life has changed recently. Consider your current habits and whether you should adapt them to construct more positive routines. Try to engage in beneficial or meaningful tasks (such as cleaning, cooking, or exercising) (such as reading or keeping in touch with friends). You may find it beneficial to make a day or week schedule.
Think of how you can communicate with others.
It is important for your mental health to maintain relationships with people you can trust. If you can’t meet in person, consider how you can communicate with friends and family via phone, video calls, or social media – whether it’s with people you see often or reconnecting with old friends. You can form a help bubble with another household if you live alone.
If you’re feeling lonely, the NHS Volunteer Responders will offer a free phone check-in and chat. To sign up for this service, call 0808 196 3646.
Assist and encourage others.
Consider how you can assist people around you; it can make a significant difference for them and can also make you feel better. It is important to listen to and consider the thoughts, fears, and behaviours of others. May you send a message to a nearby friend or family member? Are there any local community organizations you might join to help others? Bear in mind that you must follow the COVID-19 guidelines to keep yourself and others safe.
Discuss your concerns.
It’s normal to feel concerned, afraid, or powerless in the face of the current situation. Remember that this is a trying time for everybody, and that telling your family and friends how you’re doing and what you’re doing to cope can be beneficial to them as well. If you are unable to do so, there are people who can support you through NHS-recommended helplines.
Take care of your own health.
Your physical wellbeing has a major effect on your emotional and mental well-being. It’s possible to slip into unhealthy patterns of behaviour during these periods, which can make you feel even worse. Drink plenty of water and eat nutritious, well-balanced meals. One You offers tips about how to improve your health and well-being, as well as recipes for nutritious meals you can prepare at home.
Engage in a physical activity. Exercising and engaging in other forms of physical activity will boost your mood, improve your sleep, and minimize stress and anxiety. Walking or planting are two easy ways to get some exercise. If you can’t exercise outdoors, the NHS Fitness Studio has free, simple 10-minute workouts and other exercise videos to try at home. Sport England also offers advice on how to stay involved at home.
If you smoke, use medications, or drink alcohol, seek help and advice.
In times of stress and disturbance, smoking, using drugs or alcohol to cope, can make things worse, including your mental health. NHS Better Health offers guidance and recommendations on stopping smoking, as well as assistance in identifying the best support plan for you. You can also contact the National Smokefree Helpline at 0300 123 1044 to speak with an advisor (call charges may apply).
Take care of your sleep
Anxiety or worry will make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. It’s important to get enough good-quality sleep because it has a significant impact on how you feel emotionally and physically.
Maintain daily sleeping patterns and healthy sleep habits, such as maintaining a relaxing atmosphere and avoiding caffeine in the hours leading up to bedtime. The Every Mind Matters sleep page offers tips on how to get a better night’s sleep.
Make an effort to control the negative emotions
Many people are concerned about the COVID-19 news. However, for certain people, anxiety can be so overwhelming that it becomes a problem. Concentrate on the stuff you can influence, such as how you consume media and information – You may become more concerned as a result of 24-hour news and frequent social media updates. If the pandemic is impacting you, try to minimize the amount of time you spend watching, reading, or listening to news about it. It could be beneficial to only update the news at certain times or only a few times per day.
Additional resources on how to treat anxiety can be found on the Every Mind Matters page on anxiety and the NHS mental health audio guides.
Engage in activities that you love
When you are nervous, lonely, or depressed, you can reduce the amount of time you spend doing things you normally enjoy, or even avoid doing them altogether. Focusing on a favorite hobby, learning something new, or simply relaxing will help relieve nervous thoughts and feelings while also improving your mood.
If you are unable to do the things you usually love, consider how you may be able to adapt them or try something different. Online tutorials and courses are available for free, as well as entertainment such as online quizzes and music concerts.
Get outside if you can. If that isn’t possible, put nature in
Spending time in green spaces has been shown to improve both mental and physical health. If you are unable to go outside, you should try to achieve these benefits by keeping the windows open to allow fresh air in, arranging space to relax and enjoy a pleasant view (if possible), and exposing yourself to natural sunlight.
Concerns about money
Workplace stress and financial concerns may have a significant effect on your mental health. See job and support or advice from Citizens Advice or the National Debtline for information about your rights at work, what benefits you are entitled to, and what additional support is available.
Services for treatment and support
It’s important that you continue to receive the treatment and support you need to stay healthy and safe. We strongly advise you to seek help from the NHS and other health professionals regarding your current health issues as well as any potential health problems.
You can use a variety of NHS services from the comfort of your own home, such as ordering repeat prescriptions or contacting your doctor by phone or online consultation. Discuss your choices for beginning or continuing a series of talking therapies with your counseling team or therapist.
If your doctor’s office allows it, you might be able to order repeat prescriptions over the phone or from an app or website.
If you’re self-isolating or covering, ask your pharmacy about having your prescription shipped, or consider who you might ask to pick it up for you. More details about obtaining prescriptions for others and determining whether or not you would pay for prescriptions can be found on the NHS website.
Continue to order repeat prescriptions on a regular basis. There’s no need to order for a longer period of time or in greater amounts because your GP practice (or clinical team) may switch your prescriptions to repeat dispensing arrangements, which means you’ll just need to contact your pharmacy rather than your practice to get a repeat of your medication.
When purchasing medication over the internet, exercise caution. You can only buy from pharmacies that are licensed. If you’re concerned about obtaining drugs, you can check if a pharmacy is registered on the General Pharmaceutical Council website, or call NHS 111 in England.
Taking care of others
You can be concerned about how to provide treatment for those who rely on you, whether they are family members at home or people you see on a daily basis. Notify your local government if you offer care or service to someone you don’t live with and COVID-19 is interfering with this. Carers UK has more information about how to make a contingency plan and where to get help.
Suffering from grief or bereavement
We are all likely to lose a loved one at some point in our lives. It can be a very frustrating and challenging time if it occurs. This is also valid whether you are bereaved or grieving as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
You may be dealing with the shock of not only the bereavement, but also the fact that you may not have been able to say goodbye as you would have wished. This can be especially difficult if you are isolating alone, and it may be more difficult to communicate with your normal support networks.
When you come to terms with your loss after a bereavement, you are likely to experience waves of strong emotions. Sadness, remorse, shock, and rage are examples. There is no right or wrong way to feel about all of them. Grief affects each of us differently, but the most important thing is to grieve and to do so with the right help.
The NHS has a lot of information about grief and how to get help. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cruse Bereavement Care provides guidance and assistance on coping with bereavement and grief, and At a Loss.org provides signposting to services around the UK.