Covid-19: Looking after your mental health

Updated: Mar 30

The Covid-19 outbreak is unprecedented, it isn’t something any of us have experienced in our lifetime.

For many people, this is a frightening time, both for key workers who may be at the front line of fighting the disease or trying to keep the shelves stocked, as well as those who are vulnerable or at risk. People are afraid for their loved ones and afraid for themselves and that fear is driving some of the behaviours that we’re seeing at the moment, such as panic buying.

Most of us are social distancing or self-isolating during this difficult period and this may take its toll on our mental health, especially for those who are vulnerable right now. As a counsellor, I’ve had to very quickly adapt to the needs of my clients. I’ve undertaken a crash course in delivering tele-counselling and learned how to use the technology to ensure that vulnerable people experiencing stress, anxiety and depression are still able to access therapy either online or via telephone.

In these difficult times, it’s important that we try to look after our mental health. There are very practical things we can do to take care of ourselves such as:

  • Try to arrange a normal routine – get up and go to bed at set times, have a routine of things to do

  • A good night’s sleep is vitally important for mental health

  • Try to eat healthily and stay hydrated and get some fresh air and exercise, whilst remembering to follow government guidelines on Public Health Wales or Gov.uk

  • Use technology to stay in regular touch with colleagues, friends and loved ones, for example arrange a group chat or FaceTime your friends

  • There are lots of online support tools such as the stress relief app, Headspace

  • Take a break from your devices and do something else – reading, gardening, drawing, family board games Take a break from social media and check your news sources

  • Only share from trusted sources such as Gov.uk and Public Health Wales – fake news can fuel anxiety

  • Check in with yourself – it’s only natural that you may feel vulnerable or overwhelmed – try to monitor your emotional triggers so that you can adjust and reduce exposure to triggers if necessary

  • And finally cut yourself and others a little slack, these are unprecedented times and we all need to be kind to ourselves and each other.

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by Stephen Turner