Looking after your mental health

However you're feeling, it's important to check in with yourself regularly to keep on top of your mental health. Here's some useful tips to get you started.

Two students sat on sofa, talking and laughing with someone off camera

Establish a routine

Bringing structure to your day can give you a better sense of control and can make a difference to your mental health. Work out how you will spend your time each day, write it down and check-in with your schedule regularly.

Connect with people

While you may not be able to have physical contact with your loved ones, there are ways you can keep communicating: even a text, phone call or video chat could make a big difference.

Keep track of your feelings

Be mindful of your changing thoughts and feelings. You could use a mood diary to keep track of what makes you feel better or worse, then take steps to avoid, change or prepare for situations that are within your control. 

Try to keep active

Think about your own abilities and try exercises that suit your own situation. You could try new ways to keep fit within your home or garden, if you are lucky enough to have one – try looking for keep fit videos on YouTube, playing games which involve physical activity, or you could try going up and down the stairs more, dancing to music or cleaning your home. Current government guidance allows the people who are not in a group that is particularly vulnerable to coronavirus to leave their home for exercise. Activities like walking or running can help make a difference to your mental and physical wellbeing

Take in as much sun and fresh air as you can

Being outside, particularly surrounded by nature and greenery, can benefit your mental wellbeing. If you are able to leave your accommodation, try to seek out walks or areas to exercise that are safe and surrounded by nature. If you are unable to be outside, try opening your window and spending time in rooms which get a lot of natural light or garden planters on your windowsills.

Find ways to spend your time, relax and be creative

Finding ways to fill your day allows you to feel productive and can benefit your mental wellbeing. Think of tasks such as having a spring clean, or doing admin tasks that you hadn’t got around to until now. You could also try new crafts or activities to help you relax such as colouring, mindfulness, gardening, playing musical instruments, singing or yoga. Spend some time researching activities that might interest you.

Manage your news and social media intake: try to find a source of news that you can trust during these difficult times to keep you informed and to limit your exposure to false information. Try to also limit your intake of news and social media, which can help you manage your feelings if you find yourself worried or if you are finding news updates upsetting.

Anxiety, depression and claustrophobia

This can be a difficult time if you experience anxiety. You may find our information on anxiety and panic attacks useful. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has also put together information how to cope if you’re feeling anxious about the coronavirus.

If you’re feeling depressed: you may find our ‘Understanding Depression’ information useful.

If you’re feeling claustrophobic or trapped: our partner charity Mind has this advice:

  • Open the windows to let in fresh air. Or you could spend time sitting on your doorstep, or in the garden if you have one.
  • Try looking at the sky out of the window or from your doorstep. This can help to give you a sense of space.
  • Regularly change the rooms you spend time in.

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