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Protecting your mental wellbeing whilst staying at home

Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important if you need to stay at home or you are shielding due to the coronavirus.  You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you.

It is important to remember that it is ok to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, for most, these feelings will pass.

Below are some tips and advice to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may feel if you are staying at home.

Plan practical things

If you are unable to get to the shops, work out how you can get any household supplies you need. Try asking neighbours or family and friends, or find a delivery service local to you.
Ensure to continue accessing treatment and support for any existing physical or mental health problems where possible.  Let services know you are staying at home, and discuss how to continue receiving support. If you need regular medicine, you might be able to order repeat prescriptions by phone or online via a website or app. Contact your GP and ask if they offer this service. You can also ask your pharmacy about getting your medicine delivered, or ask someone else to collect it for you to avoid you having to go out.

Stay connected with others

Maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Think of ways you can stay in touch with friends and family if you or they need to stay at home – by phone, messaging, video calls or social media.  Whether this be with people you saw regularly or reconnecting with old friends.

Talk about your worries

It is normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember to share your concerns with others and by doing this, you may help them too.  If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead.

Whether you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, these helplines and support groups can offer expert
advice.

Anxiety UK

Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
Phone: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 10pm; Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 8pm)
Website: www.anxietyuk.org.uk

CALM

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
Website: www.thecalmzone.net

Mind

Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
Website: www.mind.org.uk

Samaritans

Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
Website: www.samaritans.org.uk

Young Minds

Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.
Phone: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544
(Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)
Website: www.youngminds.org.uk

Refuge

Advice on dealing with domestic violence.
Phone: 0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline)
Website: www.refuge.org.uk

Cruse Bereavement Care

Phone: 0808 808 1677 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
Website: www.cruse.org.ukRaising lowself-esteem

Look after your body

Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that can end up making us feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid alcohol where possible.

Going for a walk, run or bike ride is a great way to lift your mood and clear your head, or you could try some home workouts.

Stay on top of difficult feelings

Concern about the coronavirus outbreak is perfectly normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their day-to-day life. Try to focus on the things you can control, such as how you act, who you speak to and where you get information from.

It is fine to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, but if constant thoughts about the situation are making you feel anxious or overwhelmed, try some activities to help reduce anxiety.

Do not watch too much news

Try to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage about the outbreak, including on social media and think about turning off breaking news alerts on your phone. You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to checking a couple of times a day.

Carry on doing things you enjoy

If you are feeling worried, anxious, lonely or low, you may stop doing the things you usually enjoy. Make an effort to focus on your favourite hobby if it is something you can still do at home. If not, picking something new to learn at home might help. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, and people are coming up with inventive ways to do things, like hosting online quizzes and music concerts.

Think about your new routine

Life is changing for a while and it is likely your normal routine has been disrupted. Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines and set yourself goals.

You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week. If you are working from home, try to get up and get ready in the same way as normal, keep to the same hours you would normally work and stick to the same sleeping schedule. You could set a new time for a daily home workout, and pick a regular time to clean, read, watch a TV programme or film, or cook.

Look after your sleep

Good quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel. Therefore, it is important to get enough sleep. Try to maintain your regular sleeping pattern and stick to good sleeping practices.

Keep your brain active

Read, write, play games, do crosswords, complete sudoku puzzles, finish jigsaws, or try drawing and painting.  Whatever it is, find something that works for you.

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