The Coronavirus pandemic and being in a lockdown will affect the mental health of everybody. It may make you feel worried, tense, sad, stressed, overwhelmed, angry, afraid or anxious.
It’s okay to feel this way. Everyone reacts differently to different events.
If you are feeling anxious, are feeling low in mood or concerned for your emotional health, there are lots of things you can do to help you cope.
Here are five ways you can after your emotional mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic:
1. Connect with others
Feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need.
Connecting with others helps will help you to share how you feel, as well as give and receive emotional support.
There are lots of things you can do to connect with others, even when you are staying at home. Try some of the following:
- Use new technology to talk to people where possible while respecting social distancing. Use video chat, instant messaging and social media.
- Write someone a letter.
- Join an online support group based around a particular hobby or interest.
- Search and download online community apps on the NHS apps library.
Lots of people are finding the current situation difficult, so staying in touch could help them too.
2. Give to others
Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.
Giving to others creates a sense of reward, a feeling of purpose and self-worth.
Here are a few ways you can give:
- Surprise someone you live with by making them something like homemade banana bread.
- Help out those around you who are more vulnerable by collecting prescriptions and essential food shopping – but remember to respect social distancing.
- Take up volunteering.
- Reach out to a friend or contact you may not have spoken to for some time.
- Ask friends, family or colleagues how they are and really listening to their answer.
3. Take notice of your surroundings
Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being.
Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can help with difficult emotions and improve our wellbeing.
Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:
- Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day.
- Keep a diary of what you are doing and how you feel at different times of the day. This can help identify what’s affecting you and what you need to act on.
- During your daily permitted exercise, take note of your surroundings – this could include what you can hear, see and smell.
To help you stick to the present and not worry about the future, you might want to consider limiting the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the pandemic.
- Turn off breaking-news alerts on your phone and social media.
- Set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to a couple of checks a day.
- Fact-check information you get from newsfeeds, social media or other people.
- Social media can help you connect with others but can also make people anxious. Limit your social media use if you don’t think it is having a positive affect.
4. Be active
Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.
So why not get physical? Book in a regular slot every days to try some of these ideas:
- Start running with couch to 5k podcasts
- Exercise with others online with Telford and Wrekin Leisure’s Facebook fitness programme. They run Facebook Live exercise programes every day.
- Don’t want to exercise with others? Try these 10 minute workouts.
- Running isn’t for everyone. But a brisk walk that leaves you breathless counts as exercise too.
- You can also join Let’s Get Telford Healthy to improve your physical and mental wellbeing. We will email you tips and advice that you can use to make small and simple changes to your lifestyle even during a lockdown.
5. Keep learning
Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life.
- Try learning to cook something new. Find out about healthy eating and cooking tips.
- Start a new DIY project in the home. For example, fixing a broken bike, garden gate or something bigger. Look for video tutorials online.
- Try new hobbies that challenge you, such as writing a blog, taking up a new sport or learning to paint.
- Lots of museums and zoos have opened up virtual tours so you can find out about a new topic.
- Listen to the radio, audio books or music.
- Open University and Futurelearn both have free courses. As does Learn Telford.