How to look after your mental health after a positive COVID-19 test
Remember that it's OK to not be OK
Whether your symptoms are mild, severe or somewhere in-between, contracting COVID-19 (coronavirus) can really take its toll on your mental health.
From staying in touch with loved ones to creating a zen space, we’ve rounded up eight simple ways to help keep your spirits high.
By now you know the drill – if you get a positive coronavirus test, you’ll need to stay at home until your quarantine period is over. For most, this means spending a lot of time with little-to-no company.
Although nothing compares to seeing loved ones face-to-face, seeing them in pixel form is the next best thing. Whether you want to get something off your chest, or you just fancy a light-hearted chit-chat, staying connected is a sure-fire way to boost your mood.
If video calls aren’t your thing, an email, text message or an old-fashioned phone call is just as great.
Eat a mood-boosting diet
It’s almost impossible to dodge comfort food when you’re feeling poorly, but it’s important to try and maintain a balanced, varied diet.
Even if you’ve lost your sense of taste or smell, eating regularly and choosing foods that release energy slowly can help keep your blood sugar levels nice and steady. That’s not all! Staying hydrated and hitting your five-a-day can also help with both your physical and mental health.
If you’re feeling too ill to cook, stock up on foods that are ready-to-eat or easily prepared. And remember, eating anything is always better than eating nothing.
Don't feel guilty
There’s no need to feel embarrassed or guilty about contracting coronavirus – especially if you’ve been doing everything you can to stay safe.
If you do test positive for coronavirus, you can help the NHS contact people who may have caught the virus from you. Find out about the NHS Test and Trace programme here.
Soak up the sun
Heading out for your daily dose of sunshine might not be an option right now, so why not try sitting close to a window or sitting in your garden when the weather is nice? Alternatively, you can help make up for a lack of sun with Lumie’s Vitamin L SAD and Energy Light. In portrait or landscape position, it provides 10,000 lux to help lift your mood, boost alertness and help you to feel more energised. Talk about multitasking!
Listen to your body
If you don’t have the energy to get dressed, don’t sweat it. If you want to spend hours on end watching your favourite TV show, go for it. We’re all different, and only YOU can know how your body is feeling.
Once you’re feeling better, remember that physical exercise can be good for your wellbeing. But don’t feel any pressure to return to your old fitness levels right away. It’s OK if this takes some time.
Create a zen space
Now more than ever it’s important to practise good self-care. From face masks (not those ones) to bath bombs, embracing some ‘me-time’ will help relax your mind.
Not your vibe? Pampering isn’t the only form of self-care. Whether you read a book, get crafty, meditate or have a dedicated ‘no social media’ hour, there are lots of ways you can help cut out stress and boost your wellbeing.
Catch those ZZZs
Coronavirus or no coronavirus, you’ll feel groggy and find it hard to concentrate if you’re skimping on sleep. We all know that good-quality sleep (we’re talking between seven and nine hours) makes a big difference to how we feel both physically and mentally.
From turning off your tech to limiting your caffeine intake, head this way for more tips and tricks to help improve your sleep.
Know when to ask for help
Like we said earlier, it’s OK not to be OK.
Asking for help is a sign of strength and courage, so don't be afraid to reach out to friends, family or professionals. Whether you’re feeling nervous about leaving the house once you’re better and your isolation period ends, or you’re feeling overwhelmed with anxiety, you can find expert advice at Anxiety UK or Mind.
There you have it! If there’s one thing you take from this, it’s that caring for your mind is just as important as caring for your body. Stay safe, stay strong.
Information correct at time of publication (12.01am 23/12/2020)