Disclaimer: This resource provides information, not advice. Please read the full disclaimer at the end of this resource.
We currently need to stay at home as much as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19. But we can do things to make sure we stay well and monitor our own and others’ health at home.
It’s important to keep taking the medicines prescribed for you, get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise every day. All these things are good for both your physical and mental health. Setting a daily routine can also give you some peace of mind as it provides a structure to your day.
At the moment, you might be seeing fewer in people in person than you’re used to. So, keeping in touch with people over the phone or internet is especially important. Not only can help with your mood, it’s an important way of getting emotional support during times of increased stress, such as if you are concerned for a loved one who is in hospital or in a care home, or during a bereavement.
If you are already under the care of a mental health team, part of your care plan will include identifying early warning signs that you are becoming mentally unwell. As mental health teams are now using remote consultations, rather than seeing you in person, it’s helpful for you to pay even closer attention to any signs that you may be becoming unwell.
Keeping a diary of your mood, appetite and sleep every day is a good way of doing this. This can help you and your health professional monitor any changes in how you feel over time and recognise patterns. You may also find this self-assessment tool helpful.
Keep in contact with your GP surgery if you have a health condition that needs regular blood monitoring (for example, diabetes or high blood pressure) or if you need blood tests to monitor your physical health in some way.
Most GP surgeries have previously offered annual health checks, particularly for conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes or if you are prone to fractures and falls. These may now be offered through remote consultation – contact your GP to find out if they can still offer this.
A person living with dementia might now be receiving fewer visitors or going outside much less than they were used to. This change to their routine may be unsettling for them. They might go on to develop more challenging behaviour that requires monitoring.
You may need more help in monitoring their actions, such as going out of the house without purpose or falling over. Devices, known as telecare, can be set up to call for help if there is a problem at home.
You might find it difficult to stay at home most of the time. So, it’s important to spend time doing the things that you enjoy. You may be able to take part in online versions of some your preferred activities and this is an opportunity to find out more by searching online.
Socialising using telephone and video calls, as well as social media, can also stop you feeling bored, lonely or isolated. You may have local organisations that can offer telephone befriending or local faith groups that you can join online.
If you are self-isolating and need urgent access to food, your mental health team may be able to arrange this. If this is not possible, there is now help available from local councils, as well as COVID Mutual Aid Groups which can help with running errands, befriending or providing advice in leaflets to let people know more about the groups and what they can offer.
As you spend more time at home, you might notice yourself smoking or drinking more than you did before. This might be because you are feeling bored, stressed or feeling cut off from your family and friends.
If you smoke, you might want to use this as an opportunity to quit smoking.
To keep track of how much you are drinking, you can use interactive tools to check your drinking and find out how this might affect you, and how you can cut down.
It is easy to feel anxious and overwhelmed when you are constantly hearing a lot of concerning news. So, it’s important that you don't keep checking the news and other media for updates. Instead, try to keep a daily routine, maintain a healthy lifestyle and focus on activities you enjoy, where you can.
You may find it helpful to set yourself two or three times in the day to catch up with the news, trying your best not to engage with it for the rest of the day.
If you need help in an emergency for a mental health problem, are in crisis and already under a mental health team, you will have been given contact details for this. The NHS also provides further guidance on dealing with a mental health emergency.