This is how to take care of your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic - according to government advice

Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 4:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 4:08 pm
The government have released guidance on how to maintain your mental health during lockdown (Shutterstock)
The government have released guidance on how to maintain your mental health during lockdown (Shutterstock)

The government have released new guidance for maintaining your mental health during lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic.

Mental Health Minister Nadine Dorries announced that people struggling with their mental health during the coronavirus outbreak will be offered additional online support and practical guidance to help them cope.

In recognition of the problems which self-isolation can pose to mental health Public Health England has published said online guidance setting out principles to follow to help people to manage their mental health during the pandemic

You can read a full list of the government’s guidance here.

The following is a more concise breakdown of what the government recommend you do to maintain your mental health during lockdown

Consider how to connect with others

Maintaining relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media instead of meeting in person – whether it’s people you normally see often or connecting with old friends.

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? Are there community groups that you could join to support others locally?

Talk about your worries

It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. 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.

Look after your physical wellbeing

Your physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise inside where possible and outside once a day, and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs.

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 manage difficult feelings

Many people find the news about coronavirus (COVID-19) concerning. However, some people 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.

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 of the outbreak. It may help to only check the news at set times or limiting to a couple of checks a day.

Everything else

The government also recommend that those staying at home ensure that they “get the facts” from reputable sources, such as the official NHS website.

Where possible citizens should develop a positive daily routine, setting goals and keeping an active mind.

Those suffering with stress should also try focussing on the present and if possible getting outside once a day and getting in touch with nature.

What to do if you become concerned with your mental health?

It is quite common to experience short-lived physical symptoms when your mood is low or anxious, for example: faster, irregular or more noticeable heartbeat; feeling lightheaded and dizzy; headaches; chest pains or loss of appetite

It can be difficult to know what is causing these symptoms, but often people who experience them due to stress, anxiety or low mood find that they get worse when they focus on them. See advice from the NHS on managing the physical symptoms.

If you are concerned about your physical symptoms, then do contact NHS 111 online.