As of Thursday, November 5, the UK entered a national lockdown.
This means most of us will continue to spend a lot more time at home. Many of our usual social activities will have been stopped and we lose a sense of social and physical interaction.
While we live through this difficult time, it's important to remember that we're all in this together. We've put together a few tips to help you look after your mental health while staying at home.
It may also help to remind yourself about the impact of your self-isolation on society as a whole. Try to bear in mind that staying quarantined is helping keep many others safe, including those who are particularly vulnerable such as the elderly and those with pre-existing serious medical conditions.
Try to view this as a new and unusual experience that could have its benefits. You could try reading more or watching movies, creating a new exercise routine, adopting a new healthy diet, or trying new relaxation techniques.
Misinformation can really amplify fear so pick one or two trusted sources of information and stick to them. Seek out authentic facts about the outbreak that are relevant to you and the people you interact with.
With social platforms often giving rise to fear and unhelpful misinformation, you could try setting limits on how much you check social media to reduce unnecessary amplification of worries. If it gets too much, don’t be afraid to switch it off completely.
In periods of uncertainty, it can be easy to slip into unhealthy patterns which could be detrimental to your mental health. Avoid smoking, drugs and drinking too much alcohol. Try to eat healthy meals, rest and try to get some exercise. This time you can participate in unlimited outdoor exercise.
We are social beings. Social isolation is difficult for most people and can have profound effects on our mental health. If you can't form a 'support bubble' with loved ones, use other communication channels like video, phone and email to stay connected to the people you care about.
If you’re concerned about your mental health, feel unable to cope or just want to speak to an expert, you can always come to us. Book a face-to-face video call with one of our doctors for a time that suits you – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
You can even choose which of our doctors you’d like to see. What’s more, you won’t have to de-register from your normal GP surgery. So, log into your account and book an appointment or sign up now. We’re waiting to help.
Other places where you can seek support are:
The Samaritans provide confidential, non-judgemental emotional support day or night for anyone who’s struggling to cope. You can contact them by phone, email, or talk to someone face to face.
Hub of Hope is a mental health support services directory set up by charity Chasing the Stigma to help you find support services near you.
The NHS has set up a mood assessment quiz, which is designed to recommend resources to help you better understand how you feel.
Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line provides advice and information to people with mental health problems and those who care for them.
Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service specifically to help people with their mental health. It's free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere.