1. What can help your mental health and wellbeing?
Connect with others
Maintaining relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Stay in touch or reconnect with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media if you can't meet in person.
Help and support others
Think about how you could help those around you – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too. Could you message a friend or family member nearby, or join a local community group to support others? Do this in line with any current guidance to keep yourself and everyone safe, and accept other people’s worries.
Talk about your worries
It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about situations that are out of your control. Remember that 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 them too. If you don’t feel able to do that, there are people you can speak to via NHS recommended helplines or you could find support groups online to connect with.
Look after your physical wellbeing
Your physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. It can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which can make you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise each day, and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs.
If you can go outside, try walking or gardening. If you are staying at home, you can find free easy NHS Better Health 10-minute home workout videos, or other exercise videos to try at home on the NHS Fitness Studio. Sport England also has good tips for keeping active at home.
Look after your sleep
Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough.
Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep good sleep hygiene 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
Many people find the news concerning, while some may experience such intense anxiety that it becomes a problem. Try to focus on the things you can control, including where you get information from and actions to make yourself feel better prepared.
It is okay to acknowledge some things that are outside of your control right now but constant repetitive thoughts about the situation which lead you to feel anxious or overwhelmed are not helpful. The Every Mind Matters page on anxiety and NHS mental wellbeing audio guides provide further information on how to manage anxiety.
Manage your media and information intake
24-hour news and constant social media updates can make you more worried. If it is affecting you, try to limit the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to media coverage. It may help to only check the news at set times or limiting to a couple of checks a day.
Check the facts
Gather high-quality information to help you to make reasonable decisions. Find a credible source you can trust such as GOV.UK, or the NHS website, and fact check information that you get from newsfeeds, social media or from other people.
Think about how possibly inaccurate information could affect others too, so avoid sharing information without fact-checking against credible sources.
Think about your daily routine
Life has been changing for us all recently, and many of us have experienced some disruption to our normal routine.
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). You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week.
Do things you enjoy
When you are anxious, lonely or low you may do things that you usually enjoy less often, or not at all. 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.
If you can’t do the things you normally enjoy because you are staying at home, try to think about how you could adapt them, or try something new. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online and people are coming up with innovative online solutions like online pub quizzes and streamed live music concerts.
Setting and achieving goals gives a sense of control and purpose – think about things you want or need to do. It could be watching a film, reading a book or learning something online.
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 help with difficult emotions or worries about the future, and can improve wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help some people to deal with feelings of anxiety. For useful resources see Every Mind Matters and NHS’ mindfulness page.
Green spaces and nature
Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. If you can’t get outside much you can try to still get these positive effects by spending time with the windows open to let in fresh air, arranging space to sit and see a nice view (if possible) and get some natural sunlight, or get out into the garden if you can.