Coronavirus and Your Wellbeing

Updated: Jun 21

Coronavirus and your wellbeing

You may be concerned about coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) and how it might affect your life. This could include being asked to stay at home or avoid other people.

This may cause concern, prove difficult or stressful however there are many things you can try that could help your wellbeing.

This information is to help you cope if:

  • You’re feeling anxious or worried about coronavirus

  • You’re asked to stay at home or avoid public places, for example if your employer asks you to work from home

  • You have to self-isolate. This means you avoid contact with other people and follow strict hygiene rules.

The NHS has advice about self-isolation in English and advice about self-isolation in Welsh.

For information on how long to self-isolate, see the current government advice in English or the current government advice in Welsh.

What it covers:

Plan for staying at home or indoors

If you’ve been advised to stay at home or indoors this could be a tricky situation for some people, for example because of poor housing conditions or other people who live with you.

There are a few things you could try:

If you need to get help with housing problems. See this page of useful contacts for housing to find details of organisations who may be able to help.

If you’re supporting someone who is self-isolating, see the government advice on how to do this safely.

Eat well and stay hydrated

See if you are able to get food delivered. For example, you might be able to order food online for home delivery. Or you could ask someone else to drop food off for you.

Think about your diet. Your appetite could change if your routine changes, or if you’re less active than you usually are. Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help your mood and energy levels. See these tips on food and mood for more information.

Drink water regularly. Drinking enough water is important for your mental and physical health. Changing your routine might affect when you drink or what fluids you drink. It could help to set an alarm or use an app to remind you. See this website for more information about water, drinks and your health.

Keep taking your medication

You might be able to order repeat prescriptions by phone, or you may be able to do this online using an app or website, if your doctor’s surgery offers this. You could download the free NHS App and search for your surgery, although some surgeries aren’t on the app yet.

Ask your pharmacy about getting your medication delivered, or ask someone else to collect it for you. This will usually be possible, although if it’s a controlled drug the pharmacy might ask for proof of identity.

Make sure anyone collecting medication on your behalf knows if they have to pay for it. The NHS website has more information on getting prescriptions for someone else and checking if you have to pay for prescriptions.

You should only buy or obtain medication from registered pharmacies.

You can check if a pharmacy is registered on the General Pharmaceutical Council website

You can contact NHS 111 in England or NHS Direct Wales if you’re worried about accessing medication.

Continue accessing treatment and support

Ask about having appointments by phone, text or online. For example, this could be with your counsellor, therapist or support worker.

Ask your therapist how they can support you, for example if you’re struggling with not seeing them face to face.

Take care of your immediate environment

If you are spending a lot of time at home, you may find it helpful to keep things clean and tidy, although this is different for different people.

If living with other people, keeping things tidy may feel more important if you’re all at home together. But you might have different ideas about what counts as 'tidy' or how much it matters. It could help to decide together how you’ll use different areas of the house..

Cleaning your house, doing laundry and washing yourself are important ways to help stop germs spreading, including when there are warnings about particular diseases. The NHS website has advice in English about how to stop germs from spreading.

Your energy costs will probably rise if you’re at home more than usual. Think about how you can manage your energy use, or how to cover any higher bills. You could also ask your energy provider about any support they offer, for example if you can sign up to their priority services register. If you're worried about money, this page of useful contacts for money has details of organisations who may be able to help or provide support.

If you have care needs or provide care and support to others

  • If you use care services, you should let your Local Authority and care provider know if you have to self-isolate.

  • If you provide care or support to someone you don’t live with, you should also let your Local Authority know if you have to self-isolate.

  • Make it clear if any support is still needed. Tell them if alternative arrangements will be required if any of the usual support can’t continue. This may include things like carers visiting, day centre sessions going on hold, or friends and family coming over to help.

  • Your Local Authority should have policies for this situation and should tell you how they can meet your needs.

Take care of your mental health and wellbeing

If you've been asked to stay at home and avoid other people, it might feel more difficult than usual to take care of your mental health and wellbeing.

These are some ideas which may help:

Hand washing and OCD

Some mental health problems can cause difficult feelings or behaviours to do with washing or hygiene. If you experience this, you might find it hard to hear advice about washing your hands.

If this is making you feel stressed or anxious, here are some things you could try:

  • Don’t keep re-reading the same advice if this is unhelpful for you.

  • Let other people know you’re struggling. For example, you could ask them not to remind you to wash your hands.

  • Breathing exercises can help you cope and feel more in control. You can find a simple breathing exercise on the NHS website. Our pages on relaxation also have some exercises you can try, and other relaxation tips.

  • Set limits, like washing your hands for the recommended 20 seconds.

  • Plan something to do after washing your hands. This could help distract you and change your focus.

It could also help to read some of the information available on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Connect with others in similar situations

If you’re part of a group of people who are also self-isolating, you may be part of group communications to receive updates on your situation. This group could also act as an informal support network.

  • You could join a peer support community such as Elefriends, where you can share your experiences and connect with others.

  • If you're going online more than usual or seeking peer support on the internet, it's important to look after your online wellbeing. See this information about online mental health.

If you're worried about loneliness

  • Think about things you can do to connect with people. For example, putting extra pictures up of the people you care about might be a nice reminder of the people in your life.

  • Listen to a chatty radio station or podcast if your home feels too quiet.

Decide on your routine

  • Plan how you’ll spend your time. It might help to write this down on paper and put it on the wall.

  • Try to follow your ordinary routine as much as possible. Get up at the same time as normal, follow your usual morning routines, and go to bed at your usual time. Set alarms to remind you of your new schedule if that helps.

  • If you aren’t happy with your usual routine, this might be a chance to do things differently. For example, you could go to bed earlier, spend more time cooking or do other things you don’t usually have time for.

  • Think about how you’ll spend time by yourself at home. For example, plan activities to do on different days or habits you want to start or keep up.

  • If you live with other people, it may help to do the following:

  • Agree on a household routine. Try to give everyone you live with a say in this agreement.

  • Try to respect each other's privacy and give each other space. For example, some people might want to discuss everything they’re doing while others won’t.

Try to keep active

Try to engage in physical activity, if possible. Most of us don’t have exercise equipment like treadmills where we live, but there are still activities we can do. Exercising at home can be simple and there are options for most ages and abilities, such as:

  • cleaning your home

  • dancing to music

  • going up and down stairs

  • seated exercises

  • online exercise workouts that you can follow

  • sitting less – if you notice you’ve been sitting down for an hour, just getting up or changing position can help.