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How to look after your mental health during a pandemic

Category: Mental Health, Government, Jobs in Government, mental health initiative, Capita, Business Services, Top Tips

Mental Health.

The current situation around the world with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent isolation measures has left many people feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, confused, fearful, and lonely or a combination of these. So what can you do to support and manage your mental health during these unusual times? We’ve put together some tips on looking after your wellbeing.

1. Get into a routine that works for you

Working remotely while living at home in close proximity to others is testing. Especially if they include your children or other half. It can lead to you overworking as you try to do both and want to make sure you’re ‘seen’ by your colleagues. You won’t be able to stick to your old routine, but find a new one that works for you. Finding a physical space for work only is key. Have clear boundaries with work – what needs to be prioritised and what can be left until later. Try to signal the end of the working day, too. You’re used to the daily commute or post work gym session, so you could set up an alarm that tells you when you can put down your pen, switch off the laptop and leave the home office. All this is easier said than done so if you find yourself struggling, simply breathe and focus on tomorrow as a new day.

2. Stay healthy

Do your best to exercise, eat well and stay hydrated. Clinical studies show that regular exercise produces chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which can be as effective as antidepressant medication or psychotherapy for treating milder depression. Without a commute, you may want to do your exercise first thing or at the end of the day. If you don’t know how to start, the NHS website has excellent 10 minute workouts to help. As a parent, you might find it more difficult to exercise, but do your best to carve out some time in the day that’s just for you, whether it’s an early morning walk, or a run in the evening.  

3. Don’t continually check the news

Reading lots of news about the coronavirus isn’t helpful and can, in fact, contribute to feelings of unease or anxiety. Limit the amount of time you spend on news sites and when you do want to check for the latest news updates, use reputable sources such as gov.uk and the BBC news site. You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to a couple of checks a day.

4. Stay connected to other people

It can be lonely when you’re staying in on your own, so try and keep in touch with friends and family by phone, email or social media. Consider muting or unfollowing accounts that cause you to feel anxious. If there’s no-one to talk to, support helplines such as AnxietyUK or NHS Every Mind Matters might be useful.

5. Find something you enjoy doing

Reading, walking, meditation, taking a bath, gardening, cooking or day dreaming. Whatever helps you relax, plan it in to your day.

6. Look after your sleep

Good quality sleep makes a huge difference to how we mentally and physically function. Follow good sleep practices and get up and go to sleep at around the same time every day The NHS Every Mind Matters website has some practical advice on how to improve your sleep.

Above all, be kind to yourself. This is an unprecedented time and will impact everyone in different ways, so don’t judge how you’re reacting, just take a deep breath and do your best.

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