10 ways to cope with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on our mental health with recent research indicating that 82% of adults in the UK have suffered from stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are 10 suggestions to improve your emotional well-being during these turbulent times:
- Stay connected to friends and family within social distancing rules or by phone, video chat. It’s worth working at relationships that make you feel loved or valued. Equally, if you feel some relationships are adversely affecting your mental health then it is OK to take a break from them.
- Visit green spaces, such as parks and beaches. Nature can lift your mood and improve wellbeing.
- Regular exercise such as walking releases feel-good chemicals in the brain and can boost your self-esteem and help you sleep better.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle such as eating healthily and sleeping well helps you cope with stress. There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel. Our brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and function well, just like the rest of our body.
- Start a new hobby or learn a new skill, for example, have a go at art, sewing or a new sport.
- Spending time with your pet can improve your well-being. The bond between you and your pet can be as strong as between people.
- Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness and breathing exercises. Mindfulness meditation can be practised anywhere.
- Listen to music and even get up and dance!
- Learn to accept yourself. We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Recognise and accept what you are not good at but focus on what you can do well.
- Ask for help. Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy. Just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone. If you feel overwhelmed and are struggling to cope then see your GP.
Resources: Coping with the pandemic