How to look after your mental health during lockdown

In the first of two blog posts, Ruth Hodierne, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Sussex Liaison & Diversion for Youth, gives us some tips on keeping calm during lockdown.


Plan your days 
Disruption of a normal routine can be stressful. Take some time to write down how you want to spend your day. Creating and sticking to a new routine will give you a sense of order and normality.

There are lots of free apps you can use to guide you through breathing techniques and meditation that can help ease your anxiety and clear your mind of anxious thoughts. Headspace or Smiling Mind are free mindfulness apps.

Clean up your social media 
You may be spending more time online so try and unfollow or mute accounts that make you feel anxious, upset or angry and find positive accounts like Young Minds (TwitterInstagramFacebook) that boost your mood and share your interests.

Take a break from the news 
It can be tempting to constantly have the news on in the background, this can have a negative impact on your mental health. Try limiting how often you check the news.


Board games are a great way to spend time with friends or family and a lot of these can be played online, like Monopoly or Chess, or through apps such as Words With Friends.

Video Calls – phone calls are amazing but seeing someone’s face really can make a huge difference. It can lift your mood and make you feel less lonely. 


Create a rota 
If you’re in a situation where lots of people are fighting over the TV, who cooks or cleans, then get together and create a rota and to avoid arguments.

Get changed every morning 
Change from what you’ve slept in, even if it’s into a clean pair of pyjamas. This will do wonders for your mood.

Walk away from tense situations if you can 
You can think and plan for the situations or people that you foresee being difficult over the next few months. You can ask a friend to call you at a certain time of the day that you expect to be problematic. This can give you a natural reason to leave a room and take a break from an intense or potentially confrontational situation. Or set an alarm and match your alarm tone to your ring tone, needing to take a call gives you a legitimate reason to leave the room. 

Create a list of “safe conversation topics” that you can refer to when things get awkward or difficult. Similarly, create a list of conversation topics that you feel are best to avoid.

Create a Hope Box
It is understandable how the recent increase in anxiety and fear may impact your thoughts of suicide. If you are at home and looking for ways to manage your thoughts of suicide, you could create a Hope Box which is filled with sensory items, such as photographs of the people you love, your favourite perfume, or song lyrics that resonate with you. Papyrus has a great how-to sheet on creating a Hope Box

Useful Apps and Numbers:

‘Stay Alive’ App where you can work on keeping safe from suicide.

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger Service, Text YM to 85258 for free 24/7 mental health support if you are having a mental health crisis.

Childline, if you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, email or chat online about any problem. Freephone 24/7 helpline 0800 1111.

The Mix, if you’re under 25 you can talk free on the phone, by email or on their webchat. You can also use their phone counselling services. Freephone 0808 808 4994 (1pm-11pm daily).