Looking after your mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic

Life is a worrying thing; get over one worry, and it's not too long before another one comes along. Unfortunately, problems and solutions are just a part of everyday life.
The Covid-19 outbreak has had a significant impact on the way we live our lives, so it's only natural to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, lonely, bored and frustrated. Recognising you have these feelings, and doing something about these feelings, is so important for a healthy mind and body.
Mark from our Digital Team steps out of his comfort zone to talk all things mental health, and discusses a few things you may have already thought about, but also a few things that maybe you haven't yet considered which may help you at this challenging time.

Stay Connected

Using that memorable BT catchphrase of the 1980’s “It’s good to talk!” so pick up that phone and call your mate, friend (even your frienamy!) – chat to anyone that will listen! Chat to your neighbours, the person waiting in line at the supermarket, but remembering to stay 2 metres apart at all times.

Keep informed, but don’t binge

It’s really important to be informed, but the news quite frankly is  pretty dark at the best of times.  Check into the news once or twice a day but don’t, as one of my mates does, leave it on all day! The news is usually 99% bad news and 1% funny story at the end, so it’s just not healthy.  If you fancy a binge watch, binge on a comedy instead!

Keep a routine

In a nutshell, keeping a routine helps you stay in control and really helps your mental health.  Routine can take the guesswork and uncertainty out of bits of our day, which can allow us to feel more in control and less stressed. Getting up at a certain time, preparing your meals, and doing something fun at certain times will help you to focus.

As a contradiction, mixing it up a bit is good too.  So if you set your alarm for 6:30, for that run around the sofa, and can’t be bothered…then turn over and do it when you do get up!

Do things you enjoy

Listen to some music, watch a TV show, have a bath, cook up something healthy.  If you have a yard or garden, sit out there for a while – it’s so peaceful currently, minimal cars and virtually no planes in the air, so no noise pollution…silver linings and all that!

Let it go, don’t keep it to yourself

My 6-year-old daughter has been feeling anxious about the coronavirus over the last few days, so she uses ‘worry dolls’ and I have to tell you they help.  She tells the doll her worries and the doll accepts them.  Once it’s been vocalised, or even written down, it helps her. It’s the same concept with adults too – you will have heard the saying, “A problem shared is a problem halved.” Sometimes we have unnecessary worries, sharing them can help identify them – give it a go!

Get your head down (cat naps are good too)

I’m not going to harp on about sleep, you know the score already. Sleep recharges the mind and body, and it boosts your immune system too.  Getting into regular sleep patterns is important, but having a power nap is OK too (shhh, I do them when I can, it’s lovely!)

Look after yourself

Good Food: You are what you eat they say. Again, you know the score – less processed foods which are bad for you, more fresh food which is good for you. The only thing I want to add is that good foods like fruit, veg, fish, nuts and seeds help to maintain a strong immune system (you can throw some meat in there too, if you are that way inclined).

Exercise: If you are not able to go out then make the armchair your gym for the 30 minutes per day, or trot round the sofa, yard or garden.  Just moving in a consistent manner will help you keep fit and healthy.  Do arm cycles, stamp your legs, get a tin of beans from the cupboard and pump some iron! Oh, and it will help your immune system too… have I mentioned that?! 😊

Henshaws are here for you

We are an expert listening ear, so if you want general advice, emotional support and/or feel a counsellor would help with your mental health in these strange times, please call us on 0300 222 5555 or email info@henshaws.org.uk

You can find out more about our Counselling service here.

There are some other great charities that can help you at this time too:

Sightline 0800 587 2252
RNIB 0303 123 99 99
CALM 0800 58 58 58
Samaritans 116 123

Image shows a man wearing a pink Henshaws t-shirt. He is cupping his hand to his ear.

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