Mental health in the time of Coronavirus

Mental health in the time of Coronavirus

One in four adults will experience a mental illness at some point each year in the UK. With COVID-19 leaving many feeling unsettled and isolated, it’s more important than ever that we all look after our mental health.

We’ve compiled a list of suggestions and resources that can help you keep your mental wellbeing intact during these strange times.

1) Limit your exposure

Whilst it’s important to keep fully up-to-date with the latest guidance from government and not ignore the existence of the pandemic, overexposure to the constant feed of information about the virus can fuel anxiety.

Social media can accelerate this, as well as spread misinformation, speculation and rumours. According to a study by Ofcom, almost half of UK online adults came across false or misleading information about the coronavirus (Covid-19) in the last week.

So, to begin with, it is worth considering how much exposure you’re getting to information about coronavirus. How much of it is necessary to keep you informed and safe?

Also consider where you’re getting your information. Where possible, make sure it’s from a reputable source such as the UK Government website, the NHS or the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Alternatively, if you’re looking for some more optimistic news, you can read articles from the Positive News magazine. Here you’ll find a variety of uplifting articles; from ways to connect with nature without leaving your home, to stories on how people are helping others during this crisis.

2) Make yourself ‘appy’

Applications on your phone or tablet can be a great way to work on your mental health and maintain contact with others. Plus, many of them are completely free.

Here are a few we like:

  • Houseparty: You’ve probably already heard of this app that allows you to play games with friends and family without needing to be in the same room. It’s a great way to stay in touch with people you care about and have fun at the same time, which can help you stay connected and think positively.
  • Headspace: Did you know that meditation has been proven to help people stress less, focus more and even sleep better? Headspace is just one example of many apps available that teach you meditation and mindfulness techniques that can be used to improve your day.
  • HearMe: Got something on your mind and just want to talk to someone impartial? With HearMe, you can speak to one of the app’s many understanding volunteers about anything and everything. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.

You can also find a list of mental health apps recommended by the NHS here.

3) Keep moving

It’s no secret that exercise is a great way to improve your mental health. In fact, a study conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health showed that running for just 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of depression by 26%. At a time when we’re indoors for the majority of the time, it’s really important to incorporate exercise into your day.

Here are some great resources that are available:

  • Nike Training Club: A healthy mind and a healthy body go hand in hand. If you want to release some of those endorphins, why not try out one of Nike’s free at-home workouts? Suitable for all fitness levels, you’re sure to find something that will get you moving.
  • The Body Coach: Follow Joe Wicks’ weekly HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts which prove that you don’t need a gym or equipment in order to get stronger and healthier. With a range of videos designed for all ages, from school age children to seniors, there’s something for the whole family!
  • Yoga with Adriene: If HIIT isn’t your thing, yoga has been proven to be an extremely effective form of exercise. Adriene’s videos are accessible to a range of skill levels and she’s even created a series of videos that have been designed specifically to do at home.

4) Take time for yourself

There’s never been a better time to read a book, watch your favourite film or learn a new skill. Check out some of the great free resources below that will keep your mind busy.

  • The Odin Project: An open source project that pulls from curriculums all across the web to give you the tools you need to learn about web development. There are currently 253,489 people making use of their free resources!
  • Duolingo: Always wanted to learn another language? With Duolingo, you can. A study has shown that 34 hours of Duolingo are equal to one university semester of languages. Plus, you can download it straight to your phone so you can learn from the comfort of your sofa
  • Ted Talks: The TED Talks YouTube channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Whether you’re interested in technology, entertainment and design, science, business or global issues, there’s bound to be an interesting video to watch.

5) Remember, you’re not alone

Finally, it’s worth remembering you’re not alone. If you just need to talk to someone or are looking for emotional support, there are also helplines you can call or text:

Click here for a list of mental health charities that you can contact.

For more information about how to take care of your wellbeing whilst at home, check out this helpful guide from mental health charity Mind.

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