Your wellbeing during coronavirus

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means that life is changing for all of us for a while. It may cause you to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely or frustrated.

It's important to remember it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass.

There are some simple things you can do to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing during times of uncertainty. Doing so will help you think clearly, and make sure you are able to look after yourself and those you care about.

5 steps to mental wellbeing

Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.

Connect with other people

Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can:

  • Help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth
  • Give you an opportunity to share positive experiences
  • Provide emotional support and allow you to support others

Here’s some ideas of ways to connect during lockdown:

  • If possible, take time each day to be with the people you are in isolation with, for example, try arranging a fixed time to eat dinner together
  • Call or message friends each day, try to communicate with other people at least once a day. Make the most of technology to stay in touch with friends and family. Video-chat apps like Skype and FaceTime are useful, especially if you live far apart
  • Try switching off the TV to talk or play a game with your children, friends or family whether that’s online or in your home.
  • Chat with a colleague

Get moving every day

Being active is great for both your mental and physical health and fitness. It is important to achieve at least a sustained 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. Evidence shows it improves your mental wellbeing by:

  • Raising your self-esteem
  • Helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them
  • Releases endorphins in your brain which helps to positively change your mood

Workout ideas

  • For those with mobility issues: chair-based exercise video
  • For those with children who will be missing out on Physical Education classes in school, Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) will be hosting 30-minute exercise classes for children Monday – Friday at 9am. These workouts can be done at home by tuning in to his YouTube channel
  • Other ways of having physical activity in your daily routine include sitting less, cleaning your house, gardening and dancing to music
  • If you were attending gym classes in the area head to your gym’s website, many places are hosting online workout classes for you to enjoy

Find out more about getting active

Learn new skills

Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • Boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem
  • Helping you to build a sense of purpose
  • Helping you to connect with others

Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or you may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life.

Some of the things you could try include:

  • Try learning to cook something new. Find out about healthy eating and cooking tips
  • Try taking on a new responsibility at work, such as mentoring a junior staff member or improving your presentation skills
  • Work on a DIY project, such as fixing a broken bike, garden gate or something bigger like a vegetable garden. There are lots of free video tutorials online
  • Try new hobbies that challenge you, such as writing a blog, taking up a new sport, learning to paint or gardening

Give to others

Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • Creating positive feelings and a sense of reward
  • Giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth
  • Helping you connect with other people

It could be small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in your local community.

You could try asking the people in your life how they are and really listening to their answer.

Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Meditation is a very useful practice to help you be more present, even if it is just 10minutes a day. There are many guided meditations online to choose from.
  • Limiting your time spent on social media and listening to the news can also play a huge role in helping you remain in the present moment and not worrying about the future.
  • Read more about mindfulness, including steps you can take to be more mindful in your everyday life.

Wellbeing guidance from Professor Rusi Jaspal

A leading professor has been appointed by Wandsworth Council as an advisor to help tackle the issues that can affect health such as social isolation and loneliness. Below are his updates with helpful advice to looking after your mental well-being during this time.

If you have any concerns, questions or need support of any kind related to coronavirus, you can contact Richmond & Wandsworth’s dedicated Community Hub on 0208 871 6555 or covid19support@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk.

24/7 Mental Health Support Line

If you need mental health support in a crisis you can call our 24/7 Mental Health Support Line on 0800 028 8000. This offers emotional support and advice to people who are affected by urgent mental health issues, at any time of the day or night. It is open to everyone: both children and adults of all ages, and to people who haven’t previously accessed mental health services.

Please only attend A&E if you have an emergency.

Helpful links