During these difficult times, it is vital that we take steps to look after our mental, as well as physical, wellbeing. The relentless cycle of news and uncertainty around Coronavirus, as well as the demands of social isolation, can easily take a toll on people’s mental health. This is especially true for young people, many of whom have had school and exams cancelled, and are already more likely to suffer with conditions like anxiety and OCD.
With this in mind, we’ve pulled together the following list of tips and resources that may be useful for helping you to protect and improve your mental wellbeing over the coming weeks.
The Government have recently released some general guidance around mental health and Coronavirus: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19.
NHS Every Mind Matters have also got a useful list of ideas for looking after mental wellbeing whilst staying home: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/.
Mind, the leading national mental health charity, have already produced some great advice for better mental health during lockdown. Their Coronavirus Information Hub has a range of resources covering topics from coping with bereavement and grief to keeping active at home: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/. There is also some fantastic information tailored to the issues facing young people at the moment: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/for-children-and-young-people/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/#collapsef7c89.
Young Minds have also got a variety of helpful tips and guidance specifically designed to help young people improve their mental wellbeing during Coronavirus: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/looking-after-yourself/coronavirus-and-mental-health/.
Keeping your mind happy and healthy whilst cooped up at home for long periods can feel like a daunting task sometimes. Here are some handy ideas for looking after your mental health whilst self-isolating.
Stay connected – Set up some regular phone or video calls with friends and family you can’t see right now. Not only will this help you keep in touch with the things you care about, but it will ensure the person you’re reaching out to feels a whole lot better as well – win-win!
Play some games – Board games can be a great way to spend time with family while giving you something to focus on. For people you’re not living with, you can also play a lot of games online, like Monopoly or Chess, or via aps like Words with Friends or Houseparty.
Limit your news intake – It can be tempting to constantly check the news during times like this, but if you notice this is having a negative impact on your state of mind, try switching on for updates only a couple of times a day.
Make a routine - Disruption of normal routine often leads to stress. Take some time to write down how you want to spend your day. Creating and sticking to a new routine will give you a new sense of order and normality.
Do some exercise – Physical activity is fantastic for your body and your mind! If you’re in need of some inspiration, Joe Wicks is posting free workouts on his YouTube every morning.
Get outside everyday (if you can!) – If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, getting outside into nature can be great for your head. Sit, sunbathe, take a walk and enjoy the natural environment!
There are lots of different ways to access confidential advice and support during Coronavirus. You may not need to draw on any of these services, but they might be useful to have to hand!
The Mix is the UK’s leading support service for young people. As well as a host of useful information on their website, they have a helpline (0800 808 4994), and also offer webchat, email advice and counselling.
Childline provides advice about problems big or small to anybody under the age of 19. They have a free 24hr helpline (0800 1111) as well as a website with lots of useful contacts.
YoungMinds Crisis Messenger offers young people free 24/7 support. If you are suffering a mental health crisis, you can text YM to 85258 anytime.