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What we have to say about your health and well being
14
May 2020
Mental Health
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Look after your mental health and wellbeing when staying at home
Page last reviewed: 13 May 2020

The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response during the coronavirus outbreak. Government advice designed to keep us safe is under constant review and will be different depending on where you live: more details and up to date information here.
1. Plan your day
We are all adjusting to a new, rather strange, way of life. This can be a risk to our mental wellbeing.

As tempting as it might be to stay in pyjamas all day, regular routines are essential for our identity, self-confidence and purpose.

Try to start your day at roughly the same time you usually would and aim to set aside time each day for movement, relaxation, connection and reflection.

2. Move more every day
Being active reduces stress, increases energy levels, can make us more alert and help us sleep better.

Explore different ways of adding physical movement and activity to your day and find some that work best for you.

Even at home, there will be lots of ways to exercise and keep your body moving.

Read our guide on keeping active and visit Every Mind Matters for some ideas to get you started.

3. Try a relaxation technique
Relaxing and focusing on the present can help improve your mental health and lighten negative feelings.

Try some different meditation or breathing exercises to see what helps. For example, sometimes we can be so tense that we do not even remember what being relaxed feels like. Progressive muscle relaxation teaches you to recognise when you are starting to get tense and how to relax.

A range of relaxation techniques, including progressive muscle relaxation are available from the NHS

4. Connect with others
Staying at home, especially if you live on your own, can feel lonely. Find creative ways to keep in touch with co-workers, friends, family, and others to help you (and them) feel more connected and supported.

Explore ways of connecting that work for you, whether that’s by post, over the phone, social media, or video-chat. This could be anything, from sharing a cup of tea over video, playing an online game together, or simply sending a supportive text-message.

5. Take time to reflect and practice self-compassion
Make time every day to reflect on what went well. It's important to recognise your successes and the things you are grateful for, no matter how small. Consider keeping a gratitude journal each day where you could write two or three of these things every night before you go to bed.

Mindfulness techniques may also help you focus on the present rather than dwelling on unhelpful thoughts (though they may not be helpful for those experiencing more severe depression).

We have a number of relaxation and other digital exercises on our website.

6. Improve your sleep
Feelings of uncertainty and changes to daily life may mean you have more difficulty sleeping.

There is a lot you can do to improve your sleep. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even at the weekend if you can, and try to get some natural sunlight (by opening your curtains and windows) where possible. This helps to regulate your body clock which can help you sleep better.

Wind down before bed by avoiding using your phone, tablet, computer or TV for an hour before bedtime.

A range of tips for improving sleep can be found on our website and from Every Mind Matters
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Symptoms
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
  • New continuous cough and/or
  • High temperature
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste  

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness If you have coronavirus symptoms:
  • Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
  • You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home
  • Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home
  • Plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household
  • Ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
  • If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999
  • Visit NHS 111 Online for more information

Stay at Home
  • If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (See ending isolation section below for more information)
  • If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
  • It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. (See ending isolation section below for more information
  • If you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
  • If you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible
Find out more about UK Gov Coronavirus Response
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