How to look after yourself during a pandemic

98% of Nightingale Hospital patients would recommend us to their friends and family

Nightingale Hospital Lead Therapist for General Psychiatry, Dr Miriam Dookhun, shares her tips for looking after your mental state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Take a break from the news

  • Try and balance your consumption, some feel only 15 minutes a day can be more helpful
  • Refer only to credible sources
  • It may be preferable to read the news online rather than watch it (this may also help limit consumption)

Focus on the facts

  • Focus on what we do know
  • Reputable sources
  • Edit your feeds on social media (e.g. news-feed on Facebook) to block out unwanted content – this can also help with news-breaks

Connect with others

Remember to make the time to connect with your loved ones, using technology. This can be done in ways such as:

  • Video-calling (e.g. WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom) and this can be with multiple users at a time
  • Messaging
  • Playing games online with others
  • Watch movies together (e.g. Netflix Parties App)
  • Sending cards via apps (e.g. Thortful, Funky Pigeon, Moonpig)

Make time to unwind

  • Do something relaxing (e.g. taking a warm bath, enjoying a cup of tea, yoga, mindfulness, exercise, relaxation apps, relaxation exercises e.g. Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Visualisation)
  • Engage with things you enjoy

Take care of your body

  • Eat well – Drink plenty of water, reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption, eat a balanced diet
  • Sleep well – adopting helpful sleep habits
  • Exercise – outside, indoors, online workouts and you can now also do online workouts with your friends

Set goals and priorities

  • Structure your day, with a balance of different things

Reduce anxiety

  • Accept that we are feeling anxious and that this is normal
  • Reduce caffeine intake and drink plenty of water
  • Do things you enjoy
  • Write down your thoughts and feelings
  • Challenge your thoughts
  • Use positive self-talk
  • Ground yourself (e.g. name all the objects you can see, count backwards from 100 by 7)

Notice the positives and have gratitude

Take the time to acknowledge the positive things around you. By practicing gratitude, this:

  • Increases positivity
  • Reduces stress
  • More balanced and realistic perspectives
  • Improves self-esteem

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“When you have a problem and you drink, take drugs or gamble, the problem won’t go away. Stay and tackle the problem”
#TherapistTipoftheWeek