Looking after your wellbeing during coronavirus and beyond

We are living through strange and scary times. We are all experiencing a range of different feelings; we may be confused, scared, worried, sad, angry or helpless, or all of the above. Or none at all. These feelings can be very upsetting but they are normal reactions to a very abnormal situation. We are living in extraordinary times and it is OK if you feel different from how you normally feel. 

We are here to help. We’ve put together a number of resources, videos and books that we hope you’ll find useful to looking after your wellbeing and mental health. 

If you are struggling and need urgent help please call Mental Health Direct on 0300 555 1000.

Or you can call The Samaritans on 116 123 any time, day or night

If you are an NHS worker and need support, you can call the dedicated Samaritans Keyworker Helpline on 0300 131 7000 for confidential, non-judgmental support. It is free to access from 7am-11pm every day. Alternatively, text FRONTLINE to 85258 for support 24/7. Find out more about the support for NHS staff on the Samaritans’ website.

10 tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus

The NHS and Public Health England has put together a list of tips if you are worked or anxious about coronavirus. The tips include ensuring you stay connected with friends and family, talking about your worries, helping others, , as well as making sure you only access credible news information, finding new hobbies, giving mindfulness a try and practising things that promote good sleep. These tips will help you feel prepared and in control, look after yourself and manage your anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Easy reading for those with learning disabilities 

Visit the Books Beyond Words website to download a selection of free resources to support people with learning disabilities through the coronavirus pandemic. The stories help explain what to do if you have coronavirus, how to keep yourself and those who you care about safe, how to safely help others who may be self-isolating and gives information on where people can seek help if they are unwell. 

Bedtime meditation

Learning how to relax takes practice, but over time it can help release tension in your body, calm your mind and improve your mental wellbeing. In this 30-minute video, instructor Beth's soothing words and relaxing moves help you leave the stresses and strains of the day behind and prepare for restful sleep.
Although this video is ideal at bedtime, you can follow it whenever you need to take time out to relax.

Moving your body

Exercise often helps us feel better and there are lots of different ways to move your body that you can do at home without specialist equipment. Here are a few of our favourites but visit the online NHS fitness studio for more exercise videos.

(If you are new to exercise or want to try something new in our lockdown situation, do bear in mind any health conditions you may have and the need to take things gradually. Always consult your GP beforehand if you have any concerns.)

Mental health and wellbeing support apps

There are lots of apps we can use to help us feel better, including practicing mindfulness. For all the quality-assured health apps visit the NHS Apps Library or try these out:

  • Chill panda: This app will help you learn to relax, manage your worries and improve your wellbeing,
  • SilverCloud: This is an eight week course to help you manage stress, anxiety and depression at your own pace

Reading – for adults, young people and children

The books on Reading Well all recommended by health experts, as well as people with lived experience of the conditions and topics covered and their relatives and carers. While the public libraries are closed you can borrow some of the books for free as e-books. Here’s some of our recommendations:

For adults:

  • An Introduction to Coping with Grief, 2nd Edition by Sue Morris
  • Living life to the full: key life skills to change your life by Christopher Williams
  • Mind over mood: change how you feel by changing the way you think 2nd edition By Dennis Greenberger, Christine A. Padesky

For young people (13-18 year olds):

  • Reading Well recommends a number of books about mental health with advice and information about issues like anxiety, stress and OCD, and difficult experiences like bullying and exams for 13 – 18 year olds. Visit the Reading Well website for more books for young people. 
  • Stuff that sucks: accepting what you can't change and committing to what you can by Ben Sedley
  • Mind your head by Juno Dawson

For children:

These are our Reading Well recommendations for children which provide stories and advise to support their mental health and wellbeing, or find more on the website.

Other free books for children:

Living well 

Visit the NHS live well website to find information on eating well, healthy weight, sleep and tiredness, sexual health, alcohol support, quitting smoking and mental wellbeing as well as a number of exercise videos.  

Get connected – develop you digital skills
Improving your digital skills can help keep connected, save money or find a new job. Learning new skills can also help you to feel better. You can find free digital skills courses on the Learn My Way website.