Every Mind Matters
Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters platform has launched new advice, focused on looking after people’s mental wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It has been updated after new data shows over 4 in 5 (85.2% ) Brits are worried about the effect that coronavirus is having on their life, with over half (53.1%) saying it was affecting their well-being and nearly half (46.9%) reporting high levels of anxiety. 
With many feeling worried, anxious or isolated during these challenging times, Every Mind Matters highlights that there are lots of things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing and help others to prevent these concerns from becoming more serious.
The range of new resources, designed specifically to help manage our mental wellbeing during coronavirus, include a tailored COVID-19 Mind Plan, COVID-19 specific content for individuals and their loved ones, and support for specific mental wellbeing issues such as anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping. The website signposts people to activities such as mindful breathing exercises, help reframing unhelpful thoughts, and muscle relaxation.
NHS psychiatrist, Dr Max Pemberton top tips for supporting mental wellbeing
“During this time, it’s completely normal to experience an array of different emotions – everyone reacts differently to changes and events going on in their lives. Alongside the Every Mind Matters platform, where you can get tips and advice about looking after your mental wellbeing, there are also some general principles that can help us through this unnerving period.
For me, the most important thing is to have a routine, where you can break up your day into sections, and exercise. There are so many programmes online and workouts you can do at home to keep your mind active. You must remember that throughout all this, you are not alone – speak to your family and friends. We will get through it and, with any luck, emerge from lockdown stronger than ever.”
“We should continue to check up on friends, family and neighbours by phone or online and pursue the activities we are able to do from home and in line with guidance. It is important to take care of your own mental wellbeing and wellbeing, and there is guidance on the Every Mind Matters platform. By adopting a new routine, setting goals, eating healthily and maintaining physical activity, we can stay in good mental wellbeing today and tomorrow.”
- Our physical and mental wellbeing are related. Looking after your body will help you look after your mind. Physical activity can have an extremely positive effect on your mental wellbeing. Even if this means doing a short work out at home, it can boost your mood.
- Managing your sleep well can benefit your mental wellbeing hugely. Not getting enough can affect concentration and reduce your energy levels, so make sure you try and keep regular sleep hours.
- Take a deep breath. Slow, measured breathing is an effective way of relaxing your mind and switching off from the outside world.
- Stay positive! The way we think, feel and behave are all linked. It might sound obvious but make a real effort to reframe unhelpful thoughts. Take a step back and see how you can think of things differently. When positive thinking becomes a habit, you will be happier and better prepared to handle the current situation.
- Don’t be afraid to seek support! We all need help sometimes. Make sure you reach out to people around you if you begin to struggle. And if you think someone is struggling with their mental wellbeing then do reach out to them. Not only could you have a positive impact on their life, but this can also build your own emotional strength.
- Learn something new. It’s important to do things that make you happy, whether that’s a brand new hobby or skill, which can take your mind off things. Setting goals is can be a great way to build your self-esteem and feel a sense of achievement.
- Create a routine. This is really important as life is changing in England for a while, and we need to adapt to our new living situation. Routine gives both children and adults an increased feeling of safety in the context of uncertainty, so maybe make a plan for the day that includes time for working, eating, relaxing, exercising etc.
- Stick to meal and bedtimes – many people working from home will have a schedule, but don’t be tempted to stay in bed or work longer hours. Eat at the times you usually would, as this can help you remain in your routine.
- Plan for the downtimes – everyone will feel different emotions due to what is going on, but it’s perfectly normal. Learn what helps you feel better - call a friend, listen to uplifting music or even have a hot bath to help you relax.
- Keep your mind active. Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, sudokus, jigsaws or drawing, cooking and painting. Find something that works for you and be creative!
“To look after my mind and my mental health exercise is the number one thing I do. It is so important to stay active for mind and body, especially during times of isolation. There are so many options online to exercise at home and for free.
“Number two would be talk to friends and family. There are so many things that we can all do to help ourselves when we’re feeling down. It’s down to us as friends and parents to look out for people who are behaving slightly differently. Don’t just stop asking them if they’re okay, let them know you’re there.”
Davina McCall - TV Presenter
“Speaking regularly to my friends and family is so important during this time. It doesn’t matter how – whether it’s via Skype, FaceTime or just a simple call. It’s good to speak about how you’re feeling with others which supports everyone’s mental wellbeing. The conversations give me a lot of encouragement and positivity, which is exactly what everyone needs during self-isolation.”
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