Coronavirus: Top Tips for Protecting Your Mental Health During Uncertain Times

While the focus is firmly on the physical impact of the virus, for many people, the recent outbreak of Coronavirus has brought with it strong feelings of anxiety, fear and isolation.

Experiencing these negative emotions for sustained periods can have a detrimental impact on our mental health, particularly for those in our community who are already dealing with mental health conditions. While it is necessary to stay up-to-date with the latest advice on how to stay safe during the outbreak, there are key steps we can all take to support our mental health during this difficult period.

Below are some of our top tips which we hope can facilitate you in taking care of your personal mental health, and in supporting the mental health of others in the community.

Maintain a Healthy Routine

Where possible, follow your daily routine. Ensure you are eating healthy meals, have a regular sleep pattern and prioritise doing things that you enjoy. Activities, like exercising, meditating, and doing puzzles and crosswords, can help to calm your mind and generate feelings of positivity.

Stay Connected to Those Around You

Although you may not be able to connect with all your friends and family in person, it is important to remember that we all need emotional support in times of uncertainty. Be particularly mindful not to emotionally isolate those in self-quarantine by checking in with them regularly via telephone and video calls. You can also use this time to reconnect with friends and family, perhaps those who you have fallen out of touch with due to your hectic schedules. This time of adversity may present an opportunity to strengthen your personal relationships.

Take the Opportunity to Better Yourself

Use the extra time you would have spent socialising and travelling to work on project YOU! Take this time to broaden your mind – take an online course, learn a new skill or read a book on a topic that interests you. Now is the perfect time to get working on that project you’ve always wanted to do, but never found the time.

Do Something Positive

Research consistently shows that acts of kindness can relieve anxiety, promote the production of feel-good hormones and thus, reduce illness. Demonstrate kindness in your community by looking out for vulnerable neighbours, reaching out to those who may be feeling isolated and using your voice for good by spreading positive stories on your social media platforms.

Monitor What You Read

If the level of media coverage is heightening your anxiety or stress, limit yourself to one news channel you trust, once or twice a day to help you stay up to date with the latest advice. Also keep an eye on what your bank, employer and local government are advising.

Avoid Taking or Circulating Unverified Advice

Avoid following or sharing the advice offered by unverified sources as the uncertainty surrounding its validity can trigger feelings of stress and helplessness. Take advice only from trusted sources such as the World Health Organisation, NHS or The European Commission.