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Coronavirus and looking after your mental wellbeing

The coronavirus pandemic and the re-introduction of tighter restrictions may bring mixed and fluctuating feelings. You may had just started to resume the things you enjoy like playing sports, getting back to work, seeing friends and family (outdoors at a social distance). There will now be changes to these activities and you will have to adapt routines you may have just started to develop.

What you might be feeling about tighter restrictions being re-introduced

You may move through a range of feelings and thoughts:

  • Stressed and unprepared
  • Anxious or afraid
  • Angry or frustrated
  • Conflicted or confused

These feelings are reasonable and expected. You may have to learn to cope with new and changing situations. Be aware that it may take time to adjust to necessary changes. It is important to take things at your own pace and be kind to yourself.

Some days may feel fine and others not: remember it is important to look after your mental health during this time. Looking after our mental health helps us process and manage the feelings we are experiencing.

It is important to note that if you are really struggling with your mental health and it is disrupting your everyday life seek professional help and talk to your GP. You can also contact the local services and support organisations listed in the useful contacts below.

If you or someone you know need urgent mental health support, call 111 option 2.

Mental wellbeing top tips

  1. Coping with winter. Some of the activities you have been doing to keep busy, may need to change slightly for the winter as the colder weather develops and in light of new restrictions. Mind has some useful tips on how to adapt your routine here.
  2. Connect with others. Maintaining healthy relationships with people we trust is important. Talking about how we are feeling can be really helpful. Stay connected via email, social media, video calling and telephone. If you haven’t got anyone to talk to or you are struggling, you can call emotional support lines like the NHS volunteer service who provide a ‘check in and chat’ service call 0808 196 3646 or one of the helplines listed under useful contacts section.
  3. Be active. Our physical health affects how we feel. It is important to eat healthily, drink enough water and exercise regularly. If you can, try to build simple physical activity into your daily routine like a home work out, a run, gardening, dancing to music, or seated exercise. Visit www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise for information and advice.
  4. Take notice and focus on the present. Engage with nature. Open the windows to get fresh air, watch the birds, tend to houseplants, listen to natural sounds apps. Notice the change in seasons. Find out more about being mindful on the NHS pages here.
  5. Stick to the facts and limit your news intake. Do not stay glued to the news. A constant stream of news can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit to checking a couple of times a day – use trustworthy sources such as GOV.UK or NHS.
  6. Have a routine. Wake up and go to bed at healthy times, get enough sleep. Include time to relax. For tips on sleep visit the Every Mind Matters Sleep page.
  7. Do something you enjoy and keep your mind active. Find something of value in your day and do something for yourself watch a favourite programme, do crosswords, art and crafts, cooking, gardening, reading a book)
  8. Work and finance, You might be worried about money, have lost your job or are concerned you might become unemployed – these issues can have a big impact on your mental health and wellbeing. The NHS has some tips and advice on coping with money worries and job uncertainty during COVID-19.
  9. Looking after a child or young person. The past few months have been hard on everyone, including our kids. But there are lots of things we can do to support them at this time. Be there to listen, stay involved in their life, support positive routines, encourage their interests, take what they say seriously. Find tips on supporting children or young people here.

Local services

Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service - Offers a range of confidential talking therapies and specialist support
Tel: 01234 880400
Email: elt-tr.bedfordiapt@nhs.net

Mind BLMK - Existing services replaced with phone and/or email support on
Tel: 0300 330 0648
Email: hq@mind-blmk.org.uk

kooth.com - Online counselling for young people
www.kooth.com

Mental Health Crisis
If you or someone you know needs urgent mental health support you can -

Call 111 Option 2

Mind MK Crisis Café
Open 5-11pm, 7 days a week.
Tel: 01525 722225

Samaritans 
Tel: 116 123
Email: jo@samaritans.org

Official guidance

www.gov.uk/coronavirus
www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Useful links

See our main wellbeing pages

Every Mind Matters - Information to support children and young people

Heads Up - men's mental health

Five ways to wellbeing

Mind

Mental Health Foundation 

Age UK
Tel: 0800 678 1602 (8am-7pm)

Helplines

Shout Crisis Text line
Text Shout to 85258

CALM 
Tel: 0800 58 58 58

Our Frontline – support for frontline workers
Text: FRONTLINE to 85258 or call 116 123 for a conversation with a trained volunteer 

National Debt Line – free and independent advice
Tel: 0808 808 4000 9am-8pm Monday-Friday