Guide to looking after your mental wellbeing - Luton Council

 

​Recent government measures mean that the majority of us are spending a lot of time at home, with many of our regular social activities and interactions no longer available to us.
The current coronavirus outbreak can be scary and can affect your mental health. There are many things you can do to support and manage your mental wellbeing during such times.

How do I manage my mental wellbeing?

Manage your media and information intake
There's extensive news and social media coverage about the coronavirus outbreak. Whilst it's crucial to stay informed, it's important to find a balance to protect your mental wellbeing.
 
If you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed, you may want to consider limiting the time you spend on coverage of coronavirus, including social media. This can include limiting your media consumption.
Also ensure you have access to information you can trust can help you feel more in control.
 
Reliable sources of information include:

Managing your emotions

Concern about coronavirus is perfectly normal, but if constant negative thoughts are making you feel anxious or overwhelmed there are a number of ways to help manage your emotions.
 
Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope with family and friends can help them too. Try some mindfulness resources and relaxation tools to deal with anxiety including:

Keeping connected

It's easy to feel isolated and lonely whilst spending a lot of time indoors and, potentially, away from loved ones and friends. Whilst it is vital to follow social distancing and stay at home guidance, maintaining relationships with friends and family is very important for mental wellbeing.
 
Whether over the phone, via messaging or online, regularly connecting with others will enhance your mental wellbeing during this time.

Help and support others

Think about how you could help those around you – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too. Could you message a friend or family member nearby? Are there community groups that you could join to support others locally?
 
Remember it’s important to do this in line with guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) to keep yourself and everyone safe. And try to be accepting of other people’s concerns, worries or behaviours.

Look after your physical wellbeing

Your physical health has a big impact on how you're feeling emotionally and mentally. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse.
 
Try to:
  • eat healthy, well-balanced meals
  • drink enough water
  • exercise inside where possible and outside once a day
  • avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs

Look after your sleep

Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Good quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough.
 
Try to:
  • maintain regular sleeping patterns
  • keep good sleep hygiene practices – like avoiding screens before bed
  • cut back on caffeine
  • create a restful environment
The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.

Structure your day

In the absence of normal daily routines, you may find it helpful to structure your day to manage worry or boredom. Sticking to your normal routines is advisable where possible, for example trying to wake up, eat and go to sleep at similar times.

Do things you enjoy

When you're anxious, lonely or low you may do things that you usually enjoy less often, or not at all. Try:
  • focussing on your favourite hobby
  • learning something new
  • simply taking time to relax indoors to:
    • give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings
    • boost your mood
If staying at home restricts this try to think about how you could adapt them, or try something new that keeps your mind active and works for you.

If you can, once a day get outside, or bring nature in

Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. If you can’t get outside much you can try to still get these positive effects:
  • spend time with the windows open to let in fresh air and get some natural sunlight
  • get out into the garden if you can
Remember that social distancing guidelines enable you to go outside to exercise once a day as long as you keep 2 metres apart from others who are not members of your household group.

Further information

For more information and advice on looking after your mental health, please visit:
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