News » Keeping a healthy mind during COVID-19

Smiling person looks out a window

Keeping a healthy mind during COVID-19

When it comes to overall wellbeing, your mental health and wellbeing is as important as your physical health.

These are tough times. The uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic can be worrying – and it may be hard to stay positive. Many people are exhausted whilst working from home, whilst taking care of kids and other dependent family members. Many are anxious about finances and what the future holds because they’ve lost work. People are feeling lonely and socially isolated, because they don’t have access to their usual support groups and networks, whilst other avenues have also been restricted

It’s completely natural to feel sad and apprehensive about what’s going on right now. But we’re here to help make sure it doesn’t get too much to cope with.

Here are some tips that can help.

Be kind and compassionate to yourself

Remember to give yourself a break and remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can in difficult circumstances. Build regular breaks into your routine, recognising time out and downtown activities are important, taking into consideration on how you are feeling. Remember we are all in this together and it’s okay to ask for help.

Whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed, it’s OK, take a moment focus on your breaths and three slow breaths paying attention to belly breathing.

Take it day by day and celebrate an accomplishment when you have achieved something. Perhaps you want to try cooking a new, healthy meal that you’ve never tried before? Or doing one of our gentle exercises every day for a week.

You can make your own self-care plan to guide your day to day activities.

Keep connected with others

Keeping connected has never been more important, whether it’s with a family member, your friends or co-workers.

Give people a quick call. You may feel like you have nothing to say, but they’ll enjoy hearing from you. Also focusing on them for a little while may distract you from your immediate surroundings too and break up your day.

If you can, use video calls – it’s so much nicer to see people face-to-face. You might want to schedule regular catch-ups at the same time, particularly if you would usually meet them in person. This gives you an excuse to get dressed up and treat yourself to a coffee, even if you’re staying at home! Have a little fun with this, maybe have themed video-calls.

If you don’t have the phone numbers of people you usually see at your social support groups, get in touch with us and we can try and put you in touch.

Smiling older man in the garden

Focus on the silver linings

It might not always feel possible, but perhaps there are some positives of the new situation you find yourself in. While we all want this to be over and for no more people to suffer, think back to the things you wanted to be different before COVID-19 happened.

Maybe you wanted more time with the kids. Perhaps you wanted more quiet time at home to rest. Did you dream of starting a new hobby?

This is not a perfect situation, but there may be little silver linings you can focus on to help get you through. Try to spend a moment counting the things and people you are grateful for, to help keep you grounded.

Practice switching off

Although it may be tempting to keep informed, being exposed to constant news stories can increase negative emotions and thoughts such as panic, anxiety and will this ever end. Limit or avoid unhelpful news and media. It is OK not to watch the news every day. Try having a ‘digital detox’ each night to help switch off and relax.

Don’t be tempted to work longer than your normal hours and set boundaries to keep work and personal life separate!

Separate fact from fiction, and trust information only from reliable sources.

Setting boundaries around people is also important. Reduce your interactions where possible with negative people. Panic can be contagious, so it is ok not to be always available.

Build resilience towards stress

We may not always feel resilient but we can do our best to build it within our self. Resilience combats stress and helps to cope.

What is it that makes you feel stressed? Recognising and avoiding triggers helps to adapt our responses to cope better.

Manage your expectations about what you can realistically achieve in a day. Just because we are seeing fewer people doesn’t necessarily mean we have more spare time. Sometimes self-care is all you can manage and that’s perfectly OK. Self-care and boundaries are not luxuries, rather they are necessities.

You might like to try practising meditation or mindfulness, to help reduce emotional tension and stress, help gain focus; aid sleep and help calm you. There are a lot of good apps out there like Smiling Mind, Headspace Mindfulness and Insight Timer.

Other things that you can do to help build resilience include but are not limited to are:

  • Do some regular gentle exercise
  • Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol and highly processed foods
  • Spend some time in nature
  • Watch, listen or read some comedy, laughter increases the happy and relaxing hormones that help us deal with stress
  • Try go to bed the same time and wake up the same time every day
  • If you have pets, spend some time with them
  • Talk to someone, this could also include a counsellor

Reach out for help

You are not alone in this. You can contact us at any time.

We have a dedicated team who are here to help ensure you are supported and connected to the services you need.

If you need someone to talk to, our Counsellors are here to help.