Coronavirus: Looking after yourself

Coronavirus: Looking after yourself


The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

During this time, it is also very important that you look after yourself and your family. Some people will find social distancing or self-isolation very difficult, and this is to be expected. At this time more than ever, emotional and mental wellbeing should be considered.

Below is some helpful information and advice. Much of this is taken from the Mental Health Foundation’s website, and the Coronavirus guidance on wellbeing.

Plan your day We are all adjusting to a new, rather strange way of life. This can be a risk to our mental wellbeing. As tempting as it might be to stay in pyjamas all day, regular routines are essential for our identity, self-confidence and purpose. Try to start your day at roughly the same time you usually would and aim to set aside time each day for movement, relaxation, connection and reflection.

Five ways to wellbeing

The Five ways to wellbeing videos have been created by Active Newcastle to give simple tips around how we can connect more with people, take notice of our surroundings, be a little more active, learn new skills and knowledge, and give more within our communities.  The guides give ways of how we can use these tips to improve our wellbeing during the current circumstances we find ourselves in.

5 ways to wellbeing
5 ways to wellbeing - BE ACTIVE

The 5 ways to wellbeing video clips have been created by Active Newcastle to give simple tips on how to improve our wellbeing. Today we focus on how to BE ACTIVE #NewcastleCC #ActiveNewcastle

Posted by Active Newcastle on Monday, 20 April 2020
5 ways to wellbeing - LEARN

The 5 ways to wellbeing video clips have been created by Active Newcastle to give simple tips on how to improve our wellbeing. Today we focus on LEARN

Posted by Active Newcastle on Tuesday, 21 April 2020

The 5 ways to wellbeing video clips have been created by Active Newcastle to give simple tips on how to improve our wellbeing. Today we focus on LEARN

Posted by Active Newcastle on Tuesday, 21 April 2020

The 5 ways to wellbeing video clips have been created by Active Newcastle to give simple tips on how to improve our wellbeing. Today we focus on CONNECT

Posted by Active Newcastle on Monday, 20 April 2020

Move more every day

Being active reduces stress, increases energy levels, can make us more alert and help us sleep better. Explore different ways of adding physical movement and activity to your day and find some that work best for you.

Keeping active

A Keeping Active guide has been produced to help families maintain activity levels while at home. Click on the link to see the guide in your preferred language.


Try a relaxation technique

Relaxing and focusing on the present can help improve your mental health and lighten negative feelings. Try some different meditation or breathing exercises to see what helps.

Connect with others

Staying at home, especially if you live on your own, can feel very lonely. Find creative ways to keep in touch with co-workers, friends, family, and others to help you (and them) feel more connected and supported. Explore ways of connecting that work for you, whether by post, over the phone, social media or video-chat. This could be anything, from sharing a cup of tea over video, playing an online game together or simply sending a supportive text message.  

Take time to reflect and practice self-compassion

Make time every day to reflect on what went well. It's important to recognise your successes and the things you are grateful for, no matter how small. Mindfulness techniques may also help you focus on the present rather than dwelling on unhelpful thoughts (though they may not be helpful for those experiencing more severe depression).

Improve your sleep

Feelings of uncertainty and changes to daily life may mean you have more difficulty sleeping. There is a lot you can do to improve your sleep, for example aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even at the weekend if you can.

Manage stress, anxiety and low mood

We may be feeling fearful and anxious about the current situation as we worry about our own health and the health of our loved ones, so it is important that we try to manage our stress.  There are a few things that may help us do that:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting
  • Take care of your body – eat healthy, well-balanced meals and try to avoid too much sugar
  • Exercise regularly, stretch and take deep breaths
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • If you can, talk to someone about how you are feeling and share your concerns
  • Make time to unwind - try some activities you enjoy
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol

Home Activity Guide Booklets

This booklet aims to help women and girls with limited access to online resources to be more active at home and take care of their overall wellbeing.

The booklet is available in different languages:

Eat a balanced diet

There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel, for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate stimulating effect on our mood but this can soon be followed by a more negative slump. Food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and to function well, just like the other organs in your body.

  • Read more advice here, but please note, the advice on this page may not apply if your doctor or dietician have given you specific dietary advice, e.g. if you are a kidney patient or a diabetic.

Drink sensibly

  • We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary. When the drink wears off, you feel worse because of the way alcohol withdrawal symptoms affect your brain and the rest of your body. Drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings. Occasional light drinking is perfectly healthy and enjoyable for most people.
  • It is important that social distancing doesn’t result in unhealthy levels of drinking. You will find some useful tips to help with this here.
  • Stay Healthy, Stay Safe suggestions

Other support and useful contacts

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing directory for Newcastle
  • Citylife Line is a new service in Newcastle set up to help the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak. 
  • You can find out more information here, whether you would like to offer your support or find out how to get support. The helpline number is 0191 2778000.
  • Talking Helps Newcastle The service offers a range of talking therapies, advice, information and support. Talking therapies can help you to understand and work through your difficult feelings and develop strategies for coping better. Visit the website or call 0191 282 6600.
  • Young Minds If the current news on coronavirus (COVID-19) is making you feel anxious, concerned or stressed, this website offers suggestions of things you can do.
  • Talking to your children News about the Coronavirus pandemic is everywhere. With schools closed there are things you can do to help minimise the negative impact it has on your children. 
  • You can find some tips on how to do that here
  • ChildLine – website with useful links to other information and advice. Phone the helpline on 0800 1111
  • Elsa-support – a story for children explaining this difficult time.
  • Older people who are feeling isolated and lonely There has not been an experience like the current Coronavirus outbreak in most of our lifetimes, so, it is not surprising that we are all feeling a bit scared.
  • Follow this link to some useful guidance on how you can: be prepared, stay in touch with others, find out what you’re entitled to (for example, you may be entitled to an emergency food parcel), tips on what you can do when spending time by yourself and staying safe. You will also find some useful contact numbers on this page if you would like to speak to someone.
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