Self care

Do not leave your home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

An easy read guide on Coronavirus symptoms and how we can protect the most vulnerable is available here

BSL videos on 'Spotting the signs' and 'self isolating if you have symptoms' are available to watch. 

With everything going on at the moment, we are all dealing with things we don’t have any experience of, and facing challenges to our way of life. But there are things we can all do to help ourselves and to feel more positive at the moment.

Acknowledge your feelings
When we have difficult feelings, we often try to distract ourselves or distance ourselves from them. But no feeling lasts forever and however strong they feel, feelings don’t hurt us if we don’t act on them. Having an image of something passing can help us sit with our feelings, name them and let them go, so if this is a challenge for you, holding an image of clouds passing across the sky, or leaves floating down a stream, or a wave building and then passing can help. Once you have identified and acknowledged your feeling, you can then move on and focus elsewhere, but if you miss the step of acknowledging the feeling in the first place, you will be using mental energy to try and suppress it, and this is exhausting.

Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t
While we are so restricted it is easy to get caught up in thoughts of what we can’t do at the moment. But dwelling on this is likely to make us feel frustrated and worse about the current situation. Even changing the language you use to describe the situation to yourself is helpful – tell yourself you are safe at home, not stuck at home. If you do think about the things you can’t do at the moment, add them to a list of future projects and then refocus your attention on something you can do. Think about all the things you have wanted to do one day when you have the time. That day is here.

Have a basic schedule or routine
You don’t have to be rigid about what you will do or when, but having an idea of what you want to do each day will help you build in some structure to your day, and this is always helpful when we feel stressed or overwhelmed. As well as tasks which give you a sense of achieving something (sorting out a drawer or cupboard, making a bag to donate to the charity shop when we get back to usual, cleaning the house, doing some gardening), add activities which help you feel closer to other people (more about that later), and ones which you enjoy. These can be simple things – things you enjoy looking at, listening to, smelling, tasting or feeling. A fluffy blanket or throw, a nice smell, or a square of chocolate on your tongue will be a pleasant thing to focus on and give you a break from whirring thoughts.

Change your pace
We are used to rushing around and stuffing our schedules full, and it can be tempting to try and distract ourselves from anxious thoughts by keeping this up. Humans were not designed for such frantic activity – anthropologists tell us that our ancestors would have had to spend about 20 hours a week to keep themselves fed and take care of their basic needs, and the rest of their time was theirs to enjoy. This is why stress has become such an epidemic in our modern world – we are in a constant state of overload. Think of shifting down a gear, do one thing at a time rather than multi tasking, or break big chores into smaller ones. Enjoy the chance to live at a slower pace.

Add variety
If we do the same thing every day, we can feel quite bored, and doing different things is more of a challenge if we can’t go out and about. We can make small changes to our daily routines to shake things up a bit. Sit in a chair you don’t usually sit in or on the floor. Sleep on the other side of the bed. You may discover things about your home or room that you didn’t know before. Similarly, look at different sorts of things online, or watch or listen to different programs to usual, read things you may not automatically expect to like. This is a great time to discover and try new things and adding variety will help the days feel more interesting.


Make friends with technology
You may not usually use the computer much, or you may have not used programs which let you see people when you call them. But while we are all practising physical distancing it is helpful to actually see people – if you have a friend you usually meet for a cup of tea and a catch up, set a time, both make a cup of tea, and spend time on a video call while you drink it.  Ask your friends and family what they are using, and if you struggle, ask them if they can talk you through using it too. 

Reach out
While you are thinking about how you connect with others, think about how often you reach out, and what you share. Lots of people feel that if they talk about their feelings and worries, they will be a burden. But the people who care about us want to help us, and the majority of people are happy to talk. You only have to look at the incredible response to people signing up to volunteer organizations to see how much people want to help each other at the moment. So, reach out and be honest with each other.  Build in time to talk to people each day. And while you are at it, think about who might appreciate a call from you. We may be hesitating to call others, because we feel we haven’t done anything we can tell them about. But our day to day interactions usually include very small details of our lives, or shared activities, and this is what makes them feel rich and satisfying. So as well as talking about the big issues, share the small details and ask others about the details of their lives.  And while you are thinking about support, take advantage of the help out there. A list of local and national support is listed on the Coronavirus section of our Trust website. Sometimes we hesitate to ask for help because we are aware that other people seem to have bigger challenges than we do, or we feel we don’t deserve help. This isn’t the time to be hard on ourselves; if you feel you need help, ask for it.

Pay attention to your physical care
While we are all living in our comfortable clothes, we may stop doing some of our basic self-care.  It is really important to keep moving around – maybe going up and down stairs more if you have them, walk around the house if you are on a phone call, or log on to exercise classes – there are lots of free ones out there and you can go as gentle or challenging as you like. Make it fun – perhaps you might sing and dance along to the radio, or set an alarm to do some push ups every hour. Human bodies are designed for activity, so we need to keep moving. Eat reasonably healthily as much as possible. Don’t worry about what you shouldn’t eat too much, focus on what you need to add in to keep yourself healthy. If you have outside space, try and spend time outside each day. If not, sit by a window, or doorway and get some fresh air if you can do this safely. It might be tempting not to wash or dress, but doing so gives us a chance to care for ourselves and to feel better.  Add these things to your daily routine, so instead of waiting to feel like doing them, you do them anyway because they are on your schedule. While you are working on keeping yourself clean and tidy to feel better, think about your environment. There is some evidence that clutter causes and increases our stress levels, so keeping things clean and tidy as much as possible, and making where we are spending time as pleasant as we can makes sense. 

Try not to overthink
We are being bombarded with information at the moment, but there is a lot of repetition, and speculation about things that no one can know the answer to. Limit your access to news sources you trust, and if you feel low or anxious, limit the number of times you check for news each day. If you find your mind going back to worrisome thoughts, try mindfulness apps or sites which can help you refocus your attention in a helpful way. There are lots of websites which offer free ideas about how to do this, and some good apps you can download.  This can also help if you find your mind racing when you try to go to sleep.

Do things for other people
Showing kindness and compassion to others can be challenging when we are anxious or low, but helping others helps us feel good about ourselves, as well as making life nicer for everyone. So, think about volunteering if you are not working at the moment, or put a note through the door of a neighbour who is older or ill offering to help, or think about putting books, jigsaws or toys you won’t be using in a box for people to help themselves to, or post the offer of them online. You can put them outside in the sun, or clean them with disinfectant first. It can be a simple as putting a teddy or a rainbow in your window to cheer up passers-by.

Remember to reset
If you have a bad day, leave it at that. Tomorrow is a chance to have a better day and try some of the things above. We will all have days which are harder, and that is ok. Be kind to yourself and remember you can always change what you do next. 


Mental health support is now available to Derbyshire residents of all ages through a new mental health support line. Call 0300 790 0596 between the hours of 9am and midnight, seven days a week.
 

Additional resources

A mental health crisis often means that you no longer feel able to cope or be in control of your situation.

You may feel things (although this may be different for individuals) including emotional distress, anxiety, and an inability to cope with day-to-day life or work.

For guidance and support on how to deal with a mental health crisis, visit this dedicated page on our website

  • NHS Health at Home - The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means you should only leave your home if it's essential, but it's still easy to get NHS help using your smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • Mental health helplines; whether you're concerned about yourself or a loved one, these helplines and support groups can offer expert advice.
  • Public Health England has now released expert advice and top tips on how to look after your mental wellbeing if you need to stay at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It also includes guidance if you’re feeling worried or anxious about the outbreak. 
  • NHS mental health app library.
  • The Government have produced a useful Coronavirus outbreak FAQs page, explaining what you can and cannot do during this time. 
  • The WellbeingAndCoping website has been developed by 4 Mental Health and co-funded by NHS England, to offer free calming and practical advice for anyone emotionally struggling during the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Wellness Society has created a Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook which includes tips and activities to help with anxiety during this time. 
  • The Community Response Unit at Derbyshire County Council is also now ready to take requests for assistance from members of the community who don’t have friends or family able to help them.
  • Derbyshire County Council are working closely with the NHS and other local authorities to ensure that the people of Derbyshire are kept well informed. On their website you'll find lots of information around the virus, how to prevent its spread and what to do if you're concerned that you might be at risk.
  • Derby City Council have created an Coronavirus information page on their website where you can view health guidance, advice for businesses and the imapct on council services and facilities. 
  • Tailored and expert support (including over the phone and internet) is available within Derby and Derbyshire for individuals at this time. In order to find the right support please see below:
  • Derbyshire Bereavement Hub have created a list of local services for people in Derbyshire who have been bereaved and need some support. 
  • The UK Government have also created a bereavement leaflet which helps bereaved families make important decisions.
  • Information on supporting bereaved children during the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • Domestic abuse - where to get help during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is now also a freephone, 24-hour national domestic abuse helpline for victims of domestic abuse. The helpline, which is run by the charity Refuge, can be contacted on 0808 2000 247.

    At the same time, a new national campaign called You Are Not Alone has been launched

  • We recognise that this is a very stressful time and that you may have concerns about your safety, or the safety of someone else. Derbyshire County Council have put together a list of resources to help you keep yourself and others safe.
  • Derbyshire Mental Health Forum have created a very useful list of local mental health support services
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