To reduce the risk of infection from Coronavirus, the government has recommended that the general public, along with certain vulnerable groups, engage in social distancing and for those with symptoms of Coronavirus to self-isolate. We know that there are wider impacts of the social-distancing measures, including economic impacts, social impacts through loss of contact and loss of routine or enjoyable social activity and specifically, impacts on mental health.
Although this is a time of uncertainty, following reliable sources of information from central and local government and the NHS, and avoiding sources of information which are prone to sensationalise, can help to reduce anxiety and provide clarity.
The good news is, by following the Five ways to wellbeing, there are lots of ways that family, friends, carers and organisations can look after our mental health and help to support others to create a positive strategy to maintain their mental wellbeing.
Keeping physically active is important for our physical and mental health and wellbeing and is currently part of permitted activity outdoors.
While people may be unable to participate in their regular activities, there are plenty of other forms of exercise and activity which can be enjoyed. A walk from your front door to a local park or around the block, on your own or with someone from your household if you prefer company. If you have a dog, taking them out for daily exercise will allow you both to enjoy a short time away from home.
Exercising at home is also a fun alternative, with a number of resources detailed on the TV schedule as well as online. Some local services are providing online video classes to enable you to carry on with, or join in a new activity. Check your usual provider for details. There are a number of options, for every level of fitness (see below). If you have a garden, doing these exercises outdoors will have further benefit.
All activities should adhere to the 2 metres (6ft) social distancing rule.
Avoid extended periods of sitting, reclining or lying while awake is important – for example get up every hour and make a drink or do some housework. There are many online resources including:
Being at home can provide opportunities for learning new skills, or developing those you enjoy. Here are some ideas to get you trying something new:
It has never been easier to stay connected to the outside world and with our support networks from our homes. Using technology can be a great way of maintaining connections with people during social-distancing measures.
Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing:
It could be small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in your local community where it is safe to do so. Some examples of the things you could try include:
Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
Read more about mindfulness, including steps you can take to be more mindful in your everyday life.
In addition to the resources above, further information and support as well as positive ideas to keep mentally well are available here:
Although this is a challenging time, there are still lots of positive things that we can do to maintain mental health and wellbeing whilst socially distancing and self-isolating.