National Lockdown Mental Health Advice
Looking after our mental health is always important. During this pandemic is has been more important than ever to practice self-care and feel connected to those around us. Below are advice/guidance and links that some of you may find useful in the coming weeks and months…
Think about your new daily routine. Life is changing for us all for a while and you will have experienced some disruption to your normal routine. Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines – try to engage in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or being in touch with friends). You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or week.
Consider how to connect with others. Maintaining relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. If you can’t meet in person, think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media instead – whether it’s people you normally see often or connecting with old friends.
Look after your physical wellbeing. Your physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which, in turn, can make you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and drink enough water. One You has a lot of advice and ideas for healthy meals you can cook at home.
Where possible, exercise at home and/or outside as often as you wish. If you can’t exercise outside, you can find free, easy 10-minute workouts from Public Health England (PHE) or other exercise videos to try at home on the NHS Fitness Studio. Sport England also has good tips for keeping active at home.If you are able to go outside, there are lots of easy ways to get moving like walking or gardening.
Seek advice and support if you smoke or use drugs or alcohol. Smoking or using drugs or alcohol to cope in times of stress and disruption can make things worse, including your mental health. NHS Smokefree provides information and advice on quitting smoking and One You has resources to help with cutting back on alcohol. You can also call Drinkline for free on 0300 123 1110 for advice and support and Down Your Drink provides interactive web-based support to help people to drink more safely. If you are concerned about drugs use, FRANK offers information and advice, including where to get help, and has a free advice line – 0300 123 6600.
Look after your sleep. Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough.
Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep good sleep hygiene practices, including avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment. The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.
Try to manage difficult feelings. Many people find the news about COVID-19 concerning. However, some people may experience such intense anxiety that it becomes a problem. Try to focus on the things you can control, such as managing your media and information intake – 24-hour news and constant social media updates can make you more worried. If it is affecting you, try to limit the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to media coverage of the outbreak. It may help to only check the news at set times or limiting yourself to checking a couple of times a day.
It is okay to acknowledge some things that are outside of your control right now. The Every Mind Matters page on anxiety and NHS mental wellbeing audio guides provide further information on how to manage anxiety.
Also The Every Mind Matters website offers expert advice to help improve your wellbeing, as well as practical tips on sleep, coping with money worries and self-care.
Urgent help in a crisis
If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call a local NHS mental health helpline for 24-hour advice and support:
You can call for yourself, your child, your parent or someone you care for. If someone's life is at risk or they cannot be kept safe, call 999 or go to A&E.