Managing your stress & anxiety


We are in very unusual times given the current impact that Covid-19 is having on society as we know it. Here are some tips on how to manage your stress and anxiety.

When we asked you how you were feeling about Covid-19, more than half of you said that you were feeling stressed and anxious. As we’ve said in the past, your wellbeing is one of our top priorities at the moment and we want to be here for you. We’ve collated some advice and tips for you, on how to manage your stress and anxiety to make sure that you are getting the help you need.

Firstly, it’s important that you know that you’re not the only person who might not be feeling themselves, it is easy to succumb to fear in the face of uncertainty and that’s the same for both young people and adults alike. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a worrier or an optimist, there are a few simple strategies you can use that will go a long way to ensuring your mental health doesn’t deteriorate as coronavirus changes the world.

Take care of news and information

You can stay up to date with information, but make sure that you’re using accurate sources of information such as the NHS coronavirus webpage and gov.uk coronavirus webpages. If you’re finding that keeping up to date with the news makes you feel worried, limit what you look at or even switch it off.

You can use your social media to you stay in touch with people, but it might make you feel anxious if people are sharing news stories or posting about their worries. You should think about limiting how much you use social media or choose to stay updated with particular group chats or pages, but not scroll through timelines or news feeds.

Get as much sunlight & fresh air as you can!

Spending time outside can benefit your mental and physical wellbeing, as well as improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress and make you feel more relaxed. Currently, if you are self-isolating, that Government are saying that you can go out to exercise, however, you should keep a safe distance from others, so make sure you do! If it makes you feel anxious being around other people at the moment, you could go for a walk in a local park or around the block and try and keep your distance if you see somebody.

You can still get the positive effects of nature if you’d rather stay indoors. Make sure that you open the windows and curtains or blinds. Use natural materials to decorate or put more flowers or plants in your house. You could also spend some time in your garden, or just look outside the window!

Find ways to relax and look after yourself

Although you will be expected to do work whether that is set by your employer or your school, college or university, it's important to give yourself a break when you need it! Whether you want to do that by painting your nails, having a long bath surrounded by candles or playing on your games console, it doesn’t matter. You could try something new like painting, colouring, playing a musical instrument or writing. As long as you can relax and take your mind off of everything that is going on. If you want a more structured way to relax, you could try joining a virtual yoga class or try some mindfulness!

Focus on what you can control and set a routine

Sometimes, the idea of not being able to control things can be what causes us more stress. Although it’s difficult to control what’s happening around the world, you can focus on what you can control. Set yourself a routine with breaks for lunch, exercise, self-care and to watch some Netflix!

Wash your hands & keep clean

If you’re getting anxious because you’re worried about coming into contact with the coronavirus, make sure that you follow the Government advice and regularly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Especially after you have gone inside after going shopping or to a public space.

If you experience difficult feelings or behaviours to do with washing or hygiene, you might find it hard to hear advice about washing your hands. Don’t keep re-reading the same information, set yourself limits, like only washing your hands for 20 seconds and let people know that you’re struggling if they keep on reminding you.

Keep in touch with friends and family

Arrange times to speak to your friends and wider family if you’ve been told to self-isolate. This could be over the phone or as a video call and you can keep in touch over messenger and text! If you're worried that you might run out of stuff to talk about, make a plan with someone to watch a show or read a book separately so that you can discuss it when you contact each other. Although you’re isolated try and remember that someone will want to be there for you, even if they can’t physically be there.

If you feel like your home is too quiet, make sure that you’ve got some background noise in the house. You could either turn on the TV, listen to the radio or put on a chatty podcast…

Make sure that you don’t self-medicate

We understand that this might be a very difficult time for you, especially with the additional stress of spending (a lot more) time stuck inside with your family. Make sure that you don’t overdo it by self-medicating with alcohol or drugs. If you start to think about self-medicating, make sure you tell your family and friends to get support, and maybe hide it in a place you can’t get to it, so you don’t get tempted.

If you take other kinds of medications to deal with underlining mental health issues, make sure that you aren’t going to run out. If you’re running low, get in touch with your GP or pharmacy to arrange a new or repeat prescription.

Make a plan for work, school or university

Working from home, or being asked to not go into school, college or university might be very strange and be the first time that you’ve done something like that before. Try and make a plan and schedule in some time for breaks and for lunch. Although normally you might not be allowed on your phone, it will be good to stay connected to your friends and colleagues, but make sure you stay focussed. Think about what technology you’ll need to be able to do your job, access digital resources or lessons and keep up to date with what you have to do.

If you’re expecting to sit some exams soon or hand in some coursework, make sure you keep on top of it. It will only cause you more stress if you leave it too late, or don’t keep up with online work that you’ve been set. Most schools and universities will provide you with contact details of your teachers or lecturers so if you have any questions, you won’t be left in the dark.

It’s important to remember that if you need more help than what we have shared, or you have a history of mental health issues that you tell someone how you’re feeling.

Mind has published some useful advice and guidance suggesting some simple things you can do to look after your mental health and wellbeing. It includes plans for staying at home if you need to self-isolate, managing handwashing and anxiety and how to keep up to date with the latest news whilst looking after your mental health.

See what MIND have to offer

The NHS is also there for you, if you are feeling like you need help, you should call NHS 111 or talk to your GP. You can also refer yourself for psychological therapy through the NHS IAPT service without seeing your GP.

Find a psychological therapy service near you

If you need to talk to someone now, you can call Samaritans free on 116 123.

Advice & Tips Health & Social Care