Mental Health Guide for Covid-19

Thursday 19-03-2020 - 12:14
Managing conditions

Mental health guide for Covid-19

We understand that this is an uncertain and unsettling time for many of you. We’ve put together some tips on what you can do to look after your mental health over the next few weeks.

The University wellbeing team also have some guidance and resources on staying safe and well during this unusual time. You can find their article here

Looking after your mental health whilst staying at home.

If you’re self-isolating, or practising social distancing, there are loads of things you can do to help take care of your mental health.

  • Take a bit of time to make your immediate space somewhere you feel comfortable to both work and relax. Make sure you’re keeping it clean and tidy too.
  • Plan a routine and stick to it. Try and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Try to eat well. You’ve eaten all your quarantine snacks in the first two days and it can be tempting to live off crisps and takeaways from now on. Putting in the effort to eat a healthy balanced diet will pay off though, as you will feel better. Don’t forget to keep hydrated as well!
  • Spending time in the fresh air (if you are able to) can make a huge difference to how you’re feeling. That could be a walk around the block, going into the garden or just opening a window.
  • Get some exercise. There are lots of free online workouts that don’t require loads of equipment or a gym. It doesn’t need to be high energy, even dancing around your house to music will get you moving and off the sofa.
  • Vary your activities: don’t spend all your time in front of a screen. This is the perfect time to try something new: a craft, learn a language, read that book you always meant to get around to.
  • Keep an eye out on Brookes Union’s social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram) and the Brookes Union website. We’ll be running a number of virtual activities and campaigns online, for you to get involved in! Want us to look into running anything in particular? Have some ideas? Let us know. This is your Students’ Union, so we want to hear from you.

Take care with the news.

  • Consider setting aside a small amount of time each day to check the news, and then distance yourself - turn it off for the rest of the day. Whilst it’s important that you stay up-to-date, it’s easy to get caught up in continuously reading the latest news story, and this could add to your anxiety.
  • Make sure you’re getting your news from a reputable source - rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Don’t get drawn into speculation yourself. If you are sharing something, do your best to make sure it’s reliable.
  • Take breaks from social media and block key words on Twitter if they start to make you feel anxious or overwhelmed. You can also mute Whatsapp groups and hide Facebook posts if they are contributing to your anxiety.

Staying connected.

It’s never been easier to stay in touch virtually with friends and family. It just involves some forward planning.

  • There are a number of ways you can stay connected without leaving the house. Try and set aside some time each day for scheduled calls to chat with friends/ family. Want to video call? Whatsapp, Skype, Google Hangout and Facebook Messenger are just some of the online platforms you can use to do this!
  • Think outside the box - can you host a watch party from your house, or a pub quiz for friends? You could make plans to watch the same film at the same time and talk about it via messaging apps, or start reading the same book and schedule time to chat about it like a virtual book club. 
  • Look after others - Reach out and keep in touch. Is there anything you can do to support a family member, friend or neighbour? We have some tips on how to get started with that too!

Managing existing mental health conditions.

For some people with pre-existing mental health conditions, this may be a particularly triggering time. We would always advise that you speak to your health care provider for specific advice, however, we’ve put together a few resources for specific conditions that might help:

You can also find general information on managing your mental health on Mind’s website, and via the University’s Wellbeing Service.

Although the Union’s physical offices may be closed, we are still here. We’re here to help. You can contact us at:

Don’t forget to keep checking the University’s guidance, which they will be updating regularly.

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