OUR battle with Covid-19 is doubtless taking its toll on the nation’s mental health. Whether we’re feeling anxious about how the coronavirus is affecting our loved ones directly, or its knock-on effects – on our jobs, our children’s education – it’s a challenging time for absolutely everybody.
A lot of us have been losing sleep, missing loved ones and fretting over the future. A survey by Public Health England shows that around half of us say that our mental health has been badly affected by the pandemic. So The Sun has teamed up with the Every Mind Matters campaign to lend a helping hand.
Here, we reveal top tips and coping strategies, as well as share information on where to find more help if you need it.
10 LOCKDOWN LIFELINES
Make a plan
Try to work out how new rules and restrictions will impact your daily life and think about the week ahead, so you can plan how you might overcome any problems. If you can’t get to the shops, think about how you might get supplies – you could ask a neighbour or use a delivery service.
It’s easy to feel like lots of things are out of our control at the moment. Focus on the aspects of life that you can control such as your own behaviour or who you speak to when you need support.
Hone your habits
It has been all too easy to fall into unhealthy habits since the pandemic struck, but looking after your body really can help your state of mind. Try to eat healthily, avoid smoking and limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
Boost your body
Be sure to do some daily, socially distanced exercise whether it’s going for a walk, run, bike ride or trying a simple ten-minute home workout. It all helps.
Focus on things that make you feel good, like a favourite hobby. Try something new like logging on to a free tutorial, do a course online or join in with virtual activities such as a pub quiz.
REDUCED social contact has left many people feeling isolated and lonely. But that’s OK – it’s perfectly natural to miss our loved ones.
There’s more to connecting with people than simply talking. As well as making phone and video calls, you could join an online book club or watch films, play games like Scrabble or even have dinner over the web to boost togetherness.
Lots of ways to say hello
Try messaging old friends or colleagues via social media or text, or set up a group chat on WhatsApp or Messenger.
The power of distraction
The brain likes to be occupied, and learning a language or how to play an instrument online can help you keep your mind off other matters.
Find out about support and resources and get some inspiration at letstalkloneliness.co.uk
It’s vital to stay connected during the week whether it’s via phone calls with friends and family, using video calls or social media. It’s worth taking the time to schedule in those calls.
Stick to the facts
Stay in the present
Try to think about the now, rather than worrying about the future. And remember, whatever’s going on, it’s not forever.
Be kind to yourself
STRUGGLING to strike the right work-life balance or juggling remote learning and childcare?
Know your rights
Talk to your employer and check what support from the UK Government – sick pay and benefits – you may be entitled to. Separate work and relaxation time by taking breaks and socialising virtually.
A win is a win, however small
Managing your spending can help make you feel more in control, but it’s also a thing to celebrate. The same applies to making time for a neighbour. Remember to congratulate yourself.
Little hands make light work
Ask how your child is feeling. Eat healthily, avoid too many treats, and develop a routine around the new situation that’s fun, combining learning, activities and virtual play dates. Children – like adults – respond well to routine.
Continue accessing support for existing physical and mental health issues via your GP and pharmacy. Get repeat prescriptions by phone, online, using an app or via a delivery service.
Helping others boosts our wellbeing as well as theirs. Think about how you can support people in your community – perhaps arrange to meet them safely outdoors or do their shopping for them.
NEED MORE HELP?
For urgent help, contact your GP for a referral to NHS talking therapies. For 24/7 mental health advice, find your local helpline at nhs.uk/urgentmentalhealth