Looking after your mental health in uncertain times, and beyond

EEAST Wellbeing Support

Uncertain it is! We're all, to varying degrees, in the frontline of the war against the Coronavirus.

Most of us don’t have the luxury of staying at home to protect ourselves: we are exposed to the risk. We are not just caring for the sick (and potentially in new ways), but have the uncertainty of ensuring the right equipment is in place, keeping up with guidelines and constant change in direction and circumstance.  And maybe we are separated from our families too – missing the hassle and the comfort this brings at the end of a day. It’s a whole new world.

It is vital to look after ourselves and each other during this period of time, especially our mental health. To be prepared for each stage of the Covid-19 pandemic journey and what we can do to support ourselves, our colleagues and our families as we move ahead through the coming weeks and beyond.

It is ok to feel a level of anxiety. These are unusual times and none of us know exactly what we are facing. You are not alone and there are plenty of things you can do to help mitigate against negative effects on your mental and emotional wellbeing. You will know most of these things, but we want to remind you regularly to take care of yourselves over the coming weeks.

These are supported by the Wellbeing document on the Covid-19 NTK pages and are being added to and updated every couple of days. They will also be covered in more detail at a later date. These are some great basics:

  • Ensure you are eating and drinking well: balanced, nutritional meals at home and work, plenty of fluids, all at regular intervals if possible
  • Exercise regularly. Even when you are exhausted try to stretch, move your body in whichever way you need to release the tension of the day
  • Get plenty of sleep wherever you are and whenever you can: clearly in your own bed for 6-8 hours is best
  • Keep connected: keep talking with managers, colleagues and family, access supervisory and peer support routinely, avoid isolation and time to ruminate
  • Avoid continual media messages – too much information can cause overload and agitation
  • Use social media (sensibly!) to keep connected too, but also switch off sometimes for much needed ‘me’ time
  • Avoid ‘unhelpful’ coping strategies: alcohol, smoking, or other drug use can worsen your mental and physical wellbeing. Think about strategies that have worked for you at other times
  • Find relaxing/calming techniques that work for you: a long hot bath, mindfulness, music and so on. And use them whenever you can: 5 minutes distraction is better than nothing. Neuroscience studies show that meditating can help us not only calm our own anxiety, but also act more altruistically toward other people – vital for our own and others’ wellbeing
  • Keep doing new things if you can: use any down time to learn a new language, write that book, complete a hobby. Lose yourself in your interests
  • Keep yourself informed of accurate information from legitimate sources; be careful of false news
  • Reach out to others; ensure everyone around you knows about all the support your managers, teams, colleagues and EEAST can provide, and who to go to to get that support
  • Remember to acknowledge each other in these tough times: you will feel better for complimenting or supporting your team-mate, and will feel better yourself if others recognise the contribution you are making
  • Acknowledge your feelings; check in with yourself regularly. Ask ‘am I ok?’. Learn to be aware of yourself, your triggers, your own needs so that you are the best judge of you. Most importantly, know when to stop and when to get help – the sooner you access support the sooner you will feel better again

And finally, we cannot change this situation. We can only do our best whilst it lasts.  

Please take care of yourselves and those around you.



EEAST Wellbeing Support

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UnMind is a workplace mental health platform working with employees to improve their own mental health.

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