Looking after your mental health and wellbeing

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having an impact on everyone’s lives. During this time, you may be bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried, anxious, or be concerned about your health or that of those close to you. Everyone reacts differently to events and changes in the way that we think, feel and behave vary between different people and over time. It’s important that you take care of your mind as well as your body.

What can help your mental health and wellbeing

Think about your daily routine


Try to engage in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or keeping in touch with friends).

Consider how to connect with others


Maintaining relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. If you can’t meet in person, think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media instead.

Help and support others


Think about how you could help those around you – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too.

Talk about your worries


It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing with family and friends how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope can help them too.

Look after your physical wellbeing


Your physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and drink enough water. Doing exercise and other physical activity can have a positive impact on your mood, improve your sleep, and reduce stress and anxiety.

Quit smoking


If you smoke, then quitting is an important way that you can reduce the risks to your health in the event of getting coronavirus.

For help and advice on quitting smoking, call 0800 169 9913 or visit the Stop Smoking Sunderland website. You can also find helpful NHS tips here.

Look after your sleep


Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough.

Try to manage difficult feelings


Many people find the news about COVID-19 concerning. Focus on the things you can control. Try to limit the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to media coverage of the pandemic.


Do things you enjoy


Continue to do things you enjoy. Focus on your favourite hobby, learning something new or simply taking time to relax should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can boost your mood.

Set goals


Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose. Think about things you want or need to do, particularly those that you can do at home, such as reading a book or learning something online.

Keep your mind active


This can help you feel in control and less low or worried. Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, sudokus, jigsaws or drawing and painting – whatever works best for you.

Take time to relax and focus on the present


This can help with difficult emotions, worries about the future and generally make you feel better. Relaxation techniques can also help some people to deal with feelings of anxiety. For useful resources, see Every Mind Matters and the NHS mindfulness page.

If you can, get outside. If you can’t, bring nature in


Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. If you can’t go outside, you can try to still get these positive effects by spending time with the windows open to let in fresh air.

For more information, read the NHS’s tips for staying at home

Useful contacts


  • Mental Health Initial Response Team: 0303 123 1145
  • Sunderland Royal Hospital: 0191 565 6256
  • Childline (wellbeing support for young people) 0800 11 11
  • Kooth – mental health support for young people
  • 24 hour domestic abuse helpline: 0800 066 5555
  • National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 200 0247
  • Citizens Advice Bureau Advice Line: 0300 330 1194
  • Samaritans or 116 123
  • Age Concern Sunderland: 0191 514 1131
  • The Silver Line (helpline for older people): 0800 470 80 90