You might be worried about coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it could affect your life. This may include being asked to stay at home or avoid other people. We know that this might feel difficult or stressful, but there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing.

This information has been provided by the wonderful Mind Organisation, and is to help you cope if:

  • you’re feeling anxious or worried about coronavirus
  • you’re staying at home or avoiding public places as part of social distancing
  • you have to self-isolate. This means you avoid contact with other people and follow strict hygiene rules. For how long to self-isolate, see the current government advice.

Here are some ideas to help if you've been asked to stay at home and you're worried about your mental health and wellbeing...

Some mental health problems can cause difficult feelings or behaviours to do with washing or hygiene. If you experience this, you might find it hard to hear advice about washing your hands.

If this is making you feel stressed or anxious, here are some things you could try:

  • Don’t keep re-reading the same advice if this is unhelpful for you.
  • Let other people know you’re struggling. For example, you could ask them not to remind you to wash your hands.
  • Breathing exercises can help you cope and feel more in control. You can find a simple breathing exercise on the NHS website. Our pages on relaxation also have some exercises you can try, and other relaxation tips.
  • Set limits, like washing your hands for the recommended 20 seconds.
  • Plan something to do after washing your hands. This could help distract you and change your focus.
  • It could also help to read some of the tips in our information on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Make plans to video chat with people or groups you’d normally see in person.
  • You can also arrange phone calls or send instant messages or texts.
  • If you’re worried that you might run out of stuff to talk about, make a plan with someone to watch a show or read a book separately so that you can discuss it when you contact each other.
  • Think of other ways to keep in contact with people if meeting in person is not possible. For example, you could check your phone numbers are up to date, or that you have current email addresses for friends you’ve not seen for a while.
  • Plan how you’ll spend your time. It might help to write this down on paper and put it on the wall.
  • Try to follow your ordinary routine as much as possible. Get up at the same time as normal, follow your usual morning routines, and go to bed at your usual time. Set alarms to remind you of your new schedule if that helps.
  • If you aren’t happy with your usual routine, this might be a chance to do things differently. For example, you could go to bed earlier, spend more time cooking or do other things you don’t usually have time for.
  • Think about how you’ll spend time by yourself at home. For example, plan activities to do on different days or habits you want to start or keep up.

If you live with other people, it may help to do the following:

  • Agree on a household routine. Try to give everyone you live with a say in this agreement.
  • Try to respect each other’s privacy and give each other space. For example, some people might want to discuss everything they’re doing while others won’t.

Build physical activity into your daily routine, if possible. Most of us don’t have exercise equipment like treadmills where we live, but there are still activities you can do. Exercising at home can be simple and there are options for most ages and abilities, such as:

  • cleaning your home
  • dancing to music
  • going up and down stairs
  • seated exercises
  • online exercise workouts that you can follow
  • sitting less – if you notice you’ve been sitting down for an hour, just getting up or changing position can help.

Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. It can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress or anger, and make you feel more relaxed.

It’s possible to still get these positive effects from nature while staying indoors at home. You could try the following:

  • Spend time with the windows open to let in fresh air.
  • Have flowers or potted plants in your home.
  • Use natural materials to decorate your living space, or use them in art projects. This could include leaves, flowers, feathers, tree bark or seeds.
  • Arrange a comfortable space to sit, for example by a window where you can look out over a view of trees or the sky, or watch birds and other animals.
  • Grow plants or flowers on windowsills. For example, you could buy seeds online or look for any community groups that give away or swap them.
  • Look at photos of your favourite places in nature. Use them as the background on your mobile phone or computer screen, or print and put them up on your walls.
  • Listen to natural sounds, like recordings or apps that play birdsong, ocean waves or rainfall. Get as much natural light as you can. Spend time in your garden if you have one, or open your front or back door and sit on the doorstep.

If you have found any of the above information useful, and you’re looking for more detailed advice, please don’t hesitate to click here to visit mind.org’s brilliant guidance.