How to protect your mental health during coronavirus pandemic

If you’re feeling anxious about the coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone.

By Danielle Andrews
Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 8:32 pm

Plenty of us are feeling worried about our jobs, our families, and having to potentially self-isolate.

Times are difficult and stressful for everyone at the moment, so charity Mind has provided tips to help you manage your mental health.

If you’re staying at home or indoors, make sure eat well and stay hydrated. It may be difficult seeing images of seemingly empty supermarkets, but it’s important to remember that supermarkets have contingency plans in place to help tackle demand.

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Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help your mood and energy levels, and drinking enough water is important for your mental and physical health.

You may well be battling loneliness if you have to stay indoors, but there are plenty of community groups that have been set up to help people. Social media is a powerful tool to keep you connected.

Groups such as Mansfield, Nottinghamshire Coronavirus (Covid-19) Mutual Aid group , and Chesterfield Community Volunteers are full of volunteers willing to help anyone who is struggling.

Search for your local area on Facebook to get in touch with similar groups.

Some mental health problems can cause difficult feelings or behaviours to do with washing or hygiene. If you experience this, you might find it hard to hear advice about washing your hands.

Don’t keep re-reading the same advice if this is unhelpful for you, and practice breathing exercises to help you feel in control.

Think of other ways to keep in contact with people if meeting in person is not possible, such as a video chat, text or phone call.

Try to follow your ordinary routine as much as possible. Get up at the same time as normal, follow your usual morning routines, and go to bed at your usual time. Set alarms to remind you of your new schedule if that helps.

Build physical activity into your daily routine, if possible. There are hundreds of at-home workouts for all abilities on Youtube, for example.

Get as much sunlight as possible – Spend time with the windows open to let in fresh air, and decorate your home with flowers or plants.

Social media could help you stay in touch with people, but might also make you feel anxious including if people are sharing news stories or posting about their worries. Consider taking a break or limiting how you use social media.

If you’re feeling claustrophobic or trapped, 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, and regularly change the rooms you spend time in.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call Samaritans on 116 123.