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How to look after your mental health during COVID-19

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Updated 19th July 2021- We recommend the coronavirus page on the NHS website for more up to date information.

Life during a pandemic isn’t easy, many of us have gone long periods of time not seeing our families and friends or doing some of our hobbies, and this can affect our mental health.

Here are some tips that we hope will help you, or your friends and family, look after your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

5 top tips for looking after your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Stay connected with friends and family

For many of us, family and friends will have been there to help us through tough times. During periods of self-isolation, we can’t always see our friends and family in person, but it’s important to try to stay connected with family and friends. You can keep in touch over video chat, phone call, emails or even letters.

Consider your intake of news and other media

Social media is a great tool to keep us all connected, but it can have effects on our mental health. Make sure you consider how you’re using social media, and if it, or certain accounts or hashtags, starts to make you feel worried or anxious take time away from it.

News helps keep us all informed, but it constantly seeing news about the outbreak can cause stress. Keeping informed is important but try to limit your intake if it’s bothering you. You could consider only checking it once a day, or whatever time frame is comfortable for you. Make sure you’re using reputable sources and try to avoid speculation.

Try to be mindful

Mindfulness can help you feel present in the moment, which can help you notice signs of stress and anxiety earlier and help you deal with them better. Try to notice your thoughts and feelings, how your body is feeling and the world around you.

We have a wellness series with Cat Meffan that can show you how meditation and mindfulness can help us all get through difficult times. 

Get active, if you can

According to the NHS, there's evidence to show a link between being physically active and having good mental well-being. This is because exercise is thought to cause chemical changes in our brain, which can help boost our mood.

This doesn’t have to be intense exercise, any exercise that makes you breathe faster and raise your heart rate is good for you. This could be going for a walk with your family or following a home workout video, you could check out our series with Chessie King.

Use your time to learn something new

Research shows that learning new skills can help improve your mental health, with a boost to your well-being and self-esteem and help you feel more positive. This doesn’t have to be learning a whole new language, or an instrument, you could try something small like a new recipe.

If you're displaying symptoms, you can get a free NHS test or you can request a Coronavirus (COVID-19) swab test kit from LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor.

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References

www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak
www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/exercise-for-depression
www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing