COVID-19 Coronavirus: Managing your mental health

While it is important to stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 (Coronavirus) advice and guidance, it is equally important to manage your mental health and wellbeing.

The College's Student Services team has put together these tips and resources to help you look after your mental health. 

Resources Tips

Seek accurate information from legitimate sources

Get your information from official sources like Public Health England. Credible sources of information are key to avoid misinformation. 

Check the College's advice and guidance page regularly for the latest updates, where you will also find links to the latest information from Public Health England. 

Set limits around news on COVID-19

Try to avoid excessive exposure to media coverage. Constant monitoring of news updates and social media feeds can intensify feelings of worry and distress. Consider turning off automatic notifications on your phone and taking a break from the news. 

Setting boundaries to how much news you read, watch or listen to will allow more time for you to focus your mind on other things. 

Look after yourself

Focus on things you can control (like having good hygiene) instead of those you cannot (stopping the virus). Where possible and within Public Health England's guidelines, maintain your daily routine and normal activities: each healthy meals, get enough sleep and do things that you enjoy. Consider creating a daily routine that prioritises your wellbeing and positive mental health.

Acitivites like taking a walk, meditating or exercising, will help you relax and have a positive impact on your thoughts and feelings. 

These Mindful Breathing and Grounding Yourself activities will help you take some time out: Student Services Mindful Techniques

Reach out to others and support people around you

Keeping in touch with your friends and family will ease stress and help you feel more connected, this is especially important with the government's social distancing measures.  

Talking through your concerns and feelings with others may also help you find new ways of dealing with any challenges. Receiving support and care from others can bring a sense of comfort and stability, while reaching out to other people who may be feeling isolated or concerned will benefit you as much as those receiving your support. 

Practice positive thinking

Try and focus on positives:

  • Appreciate the little things: Even though social distancing measures are in place we still have many moments to appreciate. The smell of your coffee, a warm bath or shower, taking a minute to listen to birdsong and so on. When you stop and take in these things, your brain boosts serotonin levels which elevate your mood and help you feel calm. 
  • Strengthen your connections: If you live with others take the opportunity to spend quality time with them. Make time to put your phones away and have meaningful conversations, play games, enjoy a meal and talk about how you are feeling. If you are living alone make time to phone friends and family, use video calling to see a friendly face, or a group call to socialise with a number of friends. Feeling close to people will increase your oxytocin, a hormone that bonds people and switches off stress hormones, influencing a calming effect on your body.
  • Look for the good in others: Panic buying and other selfish behaviour may be all over our social media, but there is plenty of good to balance this. Doctors and medical staff are working overtime to help their patients while the country recently stopped to clap and show its appreciation to the NHS. Neighbours are putting care packages together for those in need and friends from across the globe are reaching out and making contact with each other. If you tune into these positives and appreciate there are some social benefits to the situation you will encourage positive feelings. 

Acknowledge your feelings

It is normal to feel a range of negative emotions during situations such as this and you are not alone. Allow yourself time to notice and express what you're feeling. This could be achieved by writing them down in a journal, talking to others, doing something creative, or practicing meditation. 

Headspace and Calm are two websites that can help you manage your feelings. 

Make time to talk with your children

If you have dependents it is important to help them cope with stress and protect them from any hysteria. Answer their questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that children can understand. Respond to their reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns and give them extra care, attention and support. Reassure them that they are safe and let them know it is okay if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope with you. 

WHO has posted some advice and guidance on how to do this: World Health Organisation: Helping children cope with stress

Resources for managing your mental health

Dr Russ Harris, author of the international best-seller The Happiness Trap, illustrates how to use ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) to deal with the Corona crisis and the fear, anxiety and worry that goes with it.

Kooth: Free, safe, and anonymous online support for young people

Kooth is a free counselling service for young people in Cornwall. They have an online counselling and support service provided via their website, with a team of qualified counsellors. 

Your-Way Live Chat

Your Way is a partnership between five youth and mental health services in Cornwall. They offer a live chat for young people who need someone to talk to.

NHS - Every Mind Matters

Every Mind Matters is an NHS Website with expert advice and practical tips on looking after your mental health. 

Action for Happiness: Active Coping Calendar - Download PDF

Action for Happiness is a UK charity that aims to increase the happiness in the world by bringing together like-minded people from all walks of life and supporting them to take practical action to build a happier and more caring society. Drawing on the latest scientific research they have created an Active Coping Calendar to help structure your days during the social distancing measures in April. 

Mind: Coronavirus and your wellbeing

Mind is the charity for better mental health in the UK. They've put together some useful information on Coronavirus and your wellbeing.

YoungMinds: What to do if you're anxious about Coronavirus

YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people's mental health. They have some tips on how to deal with anxiety, concern and stress due to the current situation.

Student Services: Helpful Resources

Truro College's Student Services team has created this simple worksheet with exercises on Mindful Breathing and grounding yourself.

Headspace and Calm offer non-paid options on their websites and apps to help with meditation and managing anxiety.

World Health Organisation

The World Health Organisation has published further help and guidance here on how to help children cope with stress.