Look after your mental health and wellbeing when staying at home

Page last reviewed: 23 July 2021

The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response during the coronavirus outbreak. Government advice designed to keep us safe is under constant review and will be different depending on where you live: more details and updated information here.

As we emerge from another lockdown, it can be challenging to think about going out and socialising with friends, family and colleagues after over a year of restrictions. Some of us may even have to self-isolate if we've come into contact with someone who has tested positive.

Take the time to reflect on what makes you feel comfortable. If you don't feel quite ready to return to 'normality', that is perfectly fine. On the other hand, if you do feel comfortable going out again, but you have to self-isolate, these tips can help you feel mentally well whilst being back inside.
Here are some tips on how to look after your wellbeing at home.

1) Move more every day

Being active reduces stress, increases energy levels, can make us more alert and even improves sleep for some.
Explore different ways of adding physical movement and activity to your day and find something that works best for you. There are home workouts personal trainers are doing for free on Instagram, or try out a YouTube workout video a few times a week. Or, you can go for a daily walk to get some fresh air and move your limbs.

Read our guide on keeping active and visit Every Mind Matters for some ideas to get you started.

2) Try a relaxation technique

Relaxing and focusing on your breathing can help to alleviate tension and lighten negative emotions.
Try to evaluate your body during the day. Are your shoulders lifted? Is your jaw tense? If you recognise that you’re stiffening your body, take deep breaths to ease the tension and relax your muscles. 

A range of relaxation techniques, including progressive muscle relaxation are available from the NHS

3) Connect with others

Staying at home, especially if you live alone, or with household members you aren’t close with, can feel lonely. Find time to keep in touch with co-workers, friends, family, and others to help you (and them) feel more connected.
Explore ways of connecting that work for you. This could include video-calling, WhatsApp, written notes or social media. Just because your friends and colleagues might be going out to restaurants and clubs again, doesn't mean that you should feel like you also have too. Try to encourage them to partake in activities that feel comfortable for those who want to stay at home, or limit outdoor exposure.

4) Take time to reflect and practice self-compassion

Make time every day to reflect on the positive aspects of your day. Whether you managed to get out of bed, or you completed an important task, celebrate the small things. Consider keeping a gratitude journal each day where you could write two or three things you are grateful for each day.
Mindfulness techniques may also help you focus on the present rather than dwelling on unhelpful thoughts (thought they may not be helpful for those experiencing social anxiety or more severe depression).

We have a number of relaxation and other digital exercises on our website. 

5) Improve your sleep

With continuous last-minute changes to the rules, and now emerging out of another lockdown, you may be experiencing trouble sleeping.
There are many ways you can help improve your sleep. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day in order to maintain a routine. Also, try to get some natural sunlight by opening curtains and windows. This helps to regulate your body clock which can help you sleep better.
Before bedtime, avoid using your phone, tablet or computer. Instead, try to read a book, or do some yoga.

A range of tips for improving sleep can be found on our website and from Every Mind Matters

More tips

You can find more tips for looking after your mental health here.

The Mental Health Foundation is committed to bringing readers reliable and relevant information. All of our pages are written and regularly reviewed by our mental health experts, in line with official advice on the coronavirus outbreak.

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Public Health England have developed explicit guidance on mental health in the crisis. If you want to develop a personalised plan for supporting your mental health you can also visit the PHE Every Mind Matters site, developed in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation.

If you need to talk confidentially you can call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time. We also have a resource on how to get help for your mental health.