How to Protect Your Mental Health During Lockdown

We are all living in difficult times and, even if you normally manage to avoid stress and anxiety, your mental health is probably taking a battering right now.  Confined to home, or with just a single opportunity to get out for exercise each day in some places, we find ourselves restricted more than ever before, and in extremely challenging circumstances.

We are in the midst of the first global pandemic since 1918.  Back then the Spanish Flu tore across the globe for two years, infecting a quarter of the world's population and ending 50 million lives.  We have never experienced anything like this in living memory, and none of us know how to cope with social distancing, self isolation and lockdown.

But while we can intellectually acknowledge the need for such measures, actually dealing with them day to day is more of a challenge.  Staying away from everything and everyone we normally see is a difficult pill to swallow, however good for us we know it is!

This is a scary time and in scary times, it's vital that you look after your mental health.  This crisis will affect your mental health on many levels.  Here's how to deal with each aspect:


The fear of being out of control and unable to tolerate uncertainty are common characteristics of many anxiety disorders. So in a situation where most of us feel out of control and have no idea what will happen day to day, it's understandable that we are facing difficulties.

To combat this, many of us are hanging on every word of each news broadcast or government announcement but, while it is important to keep informed, this in itself is impacting your wellbeing.

Constant news about the pandemic can feel relentless and utterly overwhelming, only serving to increase your feelings of stress and anxiety.

See: 5 Simple Steps to Manage Your Stress and Anxiety

You want to stay informed about what is going on, especially in your own country or state, but you also have to protect yourself.  Aim to listen or watch only one news programme a day, perhaps first thing in the morning or the evening news, and then avoid it the rest of the time.

Limit your exposure to written media too, you don't need to click on every headline you see when you log on to email or social media.  Get off Facebook, avoid those trending hashtags on Twitter and turn off your phone.

Ensure you are only consuming information from reputable sources.  False information is being spread all over the place.  Not only will this put you at greater risk, but it also drums up more fear which will heavily influence your mental health.  So stick to one trustworthy news source for your daily briefing.


For most people, the only reason to leave home is to work if you're considered essential or to purchase essential supplies.  If you're lucky, you will also be permitted out for one form of daily exercise.

This is far from our normal behaviour, probably the only other time we are at home all day with our family is at Christmas, and that can be stressful enough!

Instead of dreading spending time together, find ways to make the most of your time together.  Rediscover and reconnect with your partner, talk to your kids about their interests, thoughts and feelings, use your time wisely rather than cramming it with work, school work and other things that don't matter.  Prioritise reconnecting and enjoying your time together.  We'll all be back to 'normal' far too soon.


We humans are social creatures so, for those who are locked away at home, only allowed out for essential shopping or exercise, being away from other people is difficult.  That lack of social contact is going to negatively influence your mental health, even if you're an introvert.

You might not be able to socialize as normal, but you can still maintain your social ties.  In addition to using social media to keep in touch with friends and family, make use of video calls.  Call and text people, set times for FaceTime or Zoom, send cards and write letters.

If your mother normally comes over for dinner on Wednesday nights, then have a video call at dinner and enjoy it together.  If you always meet your friend for coffee on Saturday afternoon, fire up a video chat and use the internet to your advantage.

Why not dress up on Saturday night and enjoy cocktails with friends (over video chat). These are abnormal times, and your mental health needs you to think creatively.  Laugh, talk, smile, cry if you need to.

So much time

If you feel like the day stretches ahead of you when you wake up in the morning, start by putting a simple routine in place.  Take your time to enjoy a quiet wake up, then have activities both mundane and interesting planned out for your day.

See: How to Start a Good Day

Read for an hour every day, take a walk, play with your pet, draw or paint, write your journal, do some housework, spend time doing a hobby, whatever you want to do add it into your new daily routine.

Do you know all those hobbies you don't have time for?  Now is the time to get to work!

Get your knitting gear out from the back of the cupboard and tune up your guitar, this is your moment!  Studies show that making time for hobbies can help beat stress, which is the key to improving mental health and wellbeing.  Now is the time to prioritise your hobbies and interests.

For more ideas see: 90+ Things to Do While You're Stuck at Home

Self image

You will feel vulnerable during this pandemic, it's okay to feel that way.  You will feel anxious, that's okay, too.

It's especially scary for people with existing mental health conditions or people with underlying health issues that make them high-risk.  You might feel tempted to push these feelings away.

Don't give in to that temptation, you should acknowledge your feelings of anxiety and stress.  The only way out is through.

Practice gratitude for what you do have.  There are so, so many good things in your life.  Take time every night to list 3 things to be grateful for.

Healthy living

Standard healthy living advice is more important now than ever.  Sleep well, eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, exercise and spend time in nature every day - even if it is only your back garden.

Rest a lot.  Stress is exhausting so give yourself permission to take a nap or have a long bath.

Did you know that 15 minutes of laughing is equivalent to a 2 hour nap, releasing endorphins into your system and lowering cortisol levels.  Read, watch, talk to someone or listen to something the makes you laugh every day.

See what your local church is offering.  You can't attend services right now, but what are they offering online or via a phone call?  Pray, listen to music, connect with others who practice your religion.

Take time to practice self care every day.  Do things that make you happy, whether that's baking, reading, writing.  Find reasons to be happy and to celebrate the every day things.

Spend time outdoors every day, make the most of the sunshine and fresh air whenever you can.

Related posts:

Easy Ways to Practice Self Care
Self Care Ideas for Busy Mums
Simple Ways to Choose Happy Every Day

Pin it:

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I may receive a commission for referring you. This in no way affects the price you pay. I only suggest resources and items I believe in and highly recommend. You can read my full disclosure statement on our Work with Me page.