5 steps to improve mental health at home

Written by Anna Bishop
May 6, 2020

Anna is a Training Product Manager at Red Cross Training responsible for the development and review of our training products.

The coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) is the greatest global health emergency in living memory. Restrictions and social distancing, as well as fears about our own health and that of those we care about, has affected the way we go about our daily lives. In a crisis we know things can feel uncertain and overwhelming, but one thing is clear: small acts can make a huge difference.

In this blog we’ve identified five small ways you can improve your mental health and wellbeing at home, particularly if you are working from home, or isolating.


1. Stay connected

Being unable to socialise in person doesn’t mean we must stop socialising altogether. We’re lucky enough to live in a digital age and there are a multitude of resources that can help you stay connected to others.

So, make the most of technology and keep in touch with friends, family and supportive others over the phone, video messaging apps, email or social media. Why not make plans to video chat with people or groups you'd normally see in person? Remember, you’re not alone and people care.


2. Look after yourself

Taking time for yourself is really important. Try to do things you enjoy such as reading, cooking, meditating or doing something that has helped you cope in the past. Some people find taking up a new skill or hobby gives them something to focus on but don’t feel pressured into learning new skills or making big lifestyle changes if you are already feeling stressed.

Take a break from the news if you need to. Lessening the time you and your family spend watching or listening to media coverage that you perceive as upsetting can help limit worry and agitation.


3. Stick to a routine

If you can, stick to your routines around the house, as this will help you feel more in control.

Self-care and routine will mean different things to different people. Finding the balance that's right for you is what's important.

One example of a routine could be establishing a regular sleeping pattern by going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day. You should try to go to bed when you feel tired enough to sleep then get up at your usual time. This may mean you will spend less time actually in bed, but more of the time in bed asleep.

If you are working from home, try to follow a routine and build structure into your day such as moving away from your work area to make time for lunch. Try to switch off at the end of the working day rather than dipping into emails or continuing past your normal working hours, this may help create healthy boundaries between work time and personal time.

For a greater look at the ways in which you can practice mindfulness, check out our infographic.

Download the infographic


4. Keep learning

You may find that learning a new skill will help to keep your mind active, especially if your work routine has been affected and you have less to do during the day. However, be realistic about any goals you set; you may find it much harder to learn while feeling the pressures of the current situation.


  • Safe Hands community

Safe Hands is a free online community featuring first aid support and advice. A range of benefits are available for Safe Hands members, which all help to keep your first aid skills fresh including: first aid tips, legislation updates, videos of key first aid techniques, monthly newsletter, first aid myths, quizzes and more.


  • Online training

While you can’t attend face to face training, you can still keep your skills updated using our online first aid annual update course. While this course does not result in obtaining a formal certificate, it will provide you with a record of learning and help you to refresh your existing first aid knowledge.

If you're keen on doing some training that builds on some of the advice we've given in this blog, check out our virtual mental wellbeing and resilience courses.


  • First aid apps

With our British Red Cross apps, you’re only two taps away from learning how to help someone in a first aid emergency. Our free first aid and baby and child first aid apps for Apple and Android devices can help you prepare for your course, and help you keep your skills fresh in your mind (and your pocket) afterwards.


5. Be kind

If you can, support others around you. This could simply be checking in on neighbours – in a safe way - over the phone or putting a ‘kindness’ slip under their door.

Now, more than ever, it is kindness that will keep us together. We’ve seen a surge in acts of kindness across the country, as people step forward to look out for others. From volunteers helping at local food banks, to playing a vital role in easing the pressure on the NHS by delivering essential goods and supplies. 

Find out more about how you can help support our work here. This page will be regularly updated with the links you need, whether you want to give help or get help.


Download our poster to share with your family, friends or colleagues >


Need further support? We’ve developed a mental health and coronavirus hub to help people cope with and build resilience during the coronavirus pandemic.

The hub is packed full of advice, training and downloadable content around helping employers and employees maintain the best possible mental health in the context of isolation and enforced home-working.

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Topics: Mental health & wellbeing

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