Blog | Coronavirus and my mental wellbeing

1st May 2020

Hear from Neil about how he’s managing his mental wellbeing during the current pandemic. Neil is a volunteer at our The Changing Room project at Hibernian Football Club, and a SAMH media volunteer.

This is going to sound a bit strange but just now I feel that my mental health is the best it’s been in years. That’s right, despite the fact that we’re in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that’s brought the entire world to its knees.

I usually like to panic about things to the point that I worry if I’ve got nothing to worry about, so what’s changed? Before this all happened I took great strides to do all I could to improve my mental health. I got myself into a good routine by getting rid of bad habits.

I’ve adapted these values and I feel that they’ve helped me. Here they are. They might help you too.

STAY CALM We’re all going to feel anxious just now, but despite what’s happening, it’s still important that we try to control the anxiety. Take a second to think about what you’re going to say to someone either face to face or online before you say it. Give your brain a chance to breathe as much as your body. 

STAY FOCUSED If you’re working from home, try and follow as much of a routine as you can. Get up when you normally would, get dressed, just as you normally would..

STAY FIT You might not be able to go to the gym but there’s plenty of apps and YouTube channels that will help you keep fit from the comfort of your own home.

STAY CREATIVE If you get any free time, this is your chance to do what you’ve always been putting off. Maybe you’ve got a novel inside of you. Maybe you’ve always wanted to bake a cake. Maybe you want to write a novel about someone who bakes a cake. Set aside some time for yourself to fire up your creative spark.

STAY SOCIAL You might not be able to see people but you can still stay in contact with them. Phone them, video call them, message them, send them a letter. Scroll through your contacts and look for someone you’ve not heard from in ages. By contacting people you’ll help their wellbeing and also yours at the same time.

STAY OFFLINE There’s a lot of information out there and a lot of it is wrong.  Be aware of spending time on social media if it’s something you find harmful at the best of times. If you’re looking for updates about the current situation these are readily available on the major news channels.

STAY SMILING Laughter can often be the best medicine. It’s not the happiest of times just now but look for things that keep you smiling, such as listening to podcasts.

STAY RELAXED Take a moment out for yourself. You deserve it. Read a book, watch a bit of telly, gather the family around for a board game. If you’re working at home and you’ve got kids who should be at school then you’ll appreciate putting aside some time to distract yourselves from all that’s going on.

STAY IN Unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t go out. It’s not worth it. You’re endangering your health and the health of those around you.

For me, these little changes make a big difference when they’re added up. I hope they’ll be useful to you too.

Thanks to Neil for sharing what works for him when it comes to looking after his wellbeing. If you’d like more information about looking after your mental health during coronavirus visit our information hub. You can also get in touch with the SAMH Information Service.