Looking after your mental health and wellbeing

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing

It’s a stressful and uncertain time with constant news of the Covid-19 coronavirus being shared in the media, on social media and in our everyday conversations.

It’s understandable that people feel concerned and it’s important for us to take steps to look after our mental health and wellbeing as well as our physical wellbeing.

Here are some tips from the Mental Health Foundation which you may find helpful.

Avoid speculation

While it’s important to stay informed, rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Facts can help to minimise fear. Accessing good quality information can help you feel more in control so use trusted sources of information such as government and NHS websites and social media outlets.

Try to stay connected

Having a sense of connection and community is important for our wellbeing. At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try to keep in touch with your friends and family by telephone, email, video calls or social media, or contact a helpline such as Samaritans for emotional support.

Stay in touch with friends on social media, but try not to sensationalise things. If you are sharing content, use this from trusted sources, and remember that your friends might be worried too.

Talk to your children

Involving our family and children in our plans for good health is essential. We need be alert to and ask children what they have heard about the outbreak and support them, without causing them alarm. Being cared for, protected, and loved are crucial things for children to feel and hear.

We need to minimise the negative impact it has on our children and explain the facts to them. Discuss the news with them, but try and avoid over-exposure to coverage of the virus. Be as truthful as possible. The Mental Health Foundation (external link) shares advice about how to talk to children about this.

Try to anticipate distress

It’s okay to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the outbreak, especially if you have experienced trauma or a mental health problem in the past, or if you have a long-term physical health condition which makes you more vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus.

It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health. We should also be aware of and avoid increasing habits which may not be helpful in the long term, like smoking and drinking alcohol. 

Try and reassure people you know who may be worried and check in with people who you know are living alone.

Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media 

There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak. If you find the news is causing you huge stress, it’s important to take steps to manage this so you find a balance.

You don’t need to avoid all news, and it’s probably better that you don’t, but minimise watching, reading or listening to news which causes you to feel anxious or distressed.

Seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried.

Do things you enjoy

If you’re staying at home for a prolonged period, think about things you can do during your time at home. People who have successfully completed a period of staying at home have kept themselves busy with activities such as cooking, reading, online learning and watching films. If you feel well enough you can take part in light exercise within your home or garden.

Recommended resources for mental wellbeing

For a wide range of tips, advice and information to support mental health and wellbeing, visit the websites below:

Recommended sources for trusted information and updates about Covid-19

Posted on Tuesday 24th March 2020

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