10 top tips for protecting your mental health during Covid-19
If reading or listening to the news is causing you to feel anxious, avoid it or check it only once a day via a credible source such as the BBC. There’s so much fake and distressing news on social media too so take a break or mute negative triggers.
Concentrate on ‘now’ rather than worrying about what’s happened before and what might, or might not, happen in the future. No one knows. So deal with the present and keep your mind in the present. A good mantra is ‘we are where we are’.
Follow NHS and other guidelines about keeping yourself and others safe. If you know you’re taking the best possible course of action, that will help you to feel calmer. Only do what you feel comfortable with, even if others encourage otherwise.
Check on and support others. Aside from this being the right thing to do, the feel-good factor will boost your own mental wellbeing and sense of purpose and achievement.
Look for positive stories and build them up, talk them up and take inspiration from them.
Take care of yourself physically. For example, eating well, drinking plenty of water, exercise, meditate, be mindful, breathe deeply, take this opportunity to get enough sleep. Wash your hands thoroughly though not excessively.
Stay connected with family, friends and colleagues and if you’re feeling down, talk about how you feel and ask for their support. Arranging regular check-ins is a great idea, though be spontaneous too.
Do something you’re good at and enjoy. Take the opportunity to spend more time doing the things you’d normally wish you had more time for. Or start something you’ve longed to do and never got around to.
Accept that you won’t work, learn or live in the same way now and avoid putting pressure on yourself to maintain the status quo. Lose the guilt, none of this is within your control or your fault in any way so all you can only control are your own reactions.
Whenever you feel uncertain, stressed or anxious, use Anxiety UK’s APPLE technique:
Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.
Pause: Instead of reacting, stop and breathe deeply.
Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking; your apparent need for certainty is unhelpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling; perceptions are not facts.
Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. A response is not necessary - imagine the issue floating out of your body and away in a bubble or cloud.
Explore: Explore the ‘now’, notice the sensations of your breathing. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Then shift your focus of attention to something else - on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry or do something else - mindfully with your full attention.
Good luck and if you need help please ask for it.
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