It’s easy to become so preoccupied with looking after our physical health that we end up neglecting our mental health. While most of us would have no trouble visiting the doctor if we were physically sick or injured, when it comes to having a psychological problem such as feeling anxious or depressed, many of us simply brush it under the carpet. 

What we want to touch on today is, if you’re a key worker in this global pandemic, how do you protect and support your mental health and overall wellbeing? While many of us are riding this out at home the best we can, key workers such as those working on the NHS frontline, are having to face the realities of COVID-19 every single day. It’s one thing to be constantly reminded of how different life is at the moment but it’s a whole different ball game when you realise your life is potentially at risk serving and keeping your country moving. Whether you’re a postman, a transportation worker, a supermarket assistant or a doctor, the impact coronavirus is having on our valued key workers is significant. 

If you’re a key worker struggling with your mental health, even if it’s just on occasion, below we’ve shared some tips you can incorporate into your daily life to help support your mental health and wellbeing during this challenging time.

Emotionally connect
While self-isolating may mean your physically isolated, (potentially on your own away from your immediate family if you’re a hospital worker) it’s important to remember that doesn’t have to mean you’re emotionally isolated. Dedicate some time in your day/week for virtual connection. We’ve come so far in video calling you can now have your entire family or friendship circle on one video call! Giving yourself space is important too, but don’t fall into the trap of cutting yourself off. You’ll need those friendly voices, banter and chit chat to take your mind off of things. It also might be helpful for you to talk about your day, vent to someone who you trust will understand and show support. It all depends on what makes you feel good. If you need to talk about it, do. If you want distractions, say so. There is never a more important time to rely on loved ones.

Seek out a wellbeing professional
Focusing on your wellbeing and mental health right now should be a top priority. Duty To Care, a charity set up by an NHS doctor and his wife, are on a mission to provide wellbeing support via online consultations to improve and sustain the mental health and wellbeing of healthcare professionals. For every £10,000 they raise they can offer a wide range of support to 250 NHS workers like CBT therapists; Psychotherapists; Mindfulness teachers; Meditation experts; Breath-work experts; Nutritional therapists, Personal trainers, Yoga teachers and Life coaches. If you work for the NHS and want to find out more or you simply want to donate, click here.

Make time for fun
Make sure you carve out some time in your day for something that brings you joy. It can be anything! That might be watching a couple of episodes of Friends (who are you kidding, try 6) or hopping on your bike for a scenic cycle. It could be baking (forget banana bread, try this scrummy Blueberry & Honey Cornbread), yoga or listening to your favourite podcast. Don’t neglect the activities that make you happy, it’s so important to find time to switch off from work to give you some headspace.

Prioritise sleep
This is a biggie. Not easy when you stressed, anxious and struggling with your mental health but by reminding yourself how vital good quality sleep is for your wellbeing, it should hopefully slip up to the top of your priority list. Sleep has a huge impact on your mood, happiness, hunger levels, stress, productivity, focus and cell turnover. It’s your body’s “charging” time and if not sufficiently charged, you won’t feel your best.
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Read more: How To Give Yourself A Social-Distancing Spa Day