Looking after your physical and mental wellbeing

As more of us are safe at home, it’s more important than ever we stay healthy and avoid getting ill or going to hospital where possible, this means caring for our body and mind. 

Public Health England has published guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. While it’s extremely important to follow government advice to stay at home during this period, NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same care they always have if you really need it.

Here is lots of information, support and top tips to support everyone, including our most vulnerable to live, work and play at home, safely:

We recognise the jobs you do make a massive difference to someone’s life, which can be rewarding and also emotionally challenging. It is only natural you may be feeling anxious or stressed during this difficult time so we would like to share some resources which you can use if you feel like you need some help, support or advice.

Dealing with stress

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. However, pressure, fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.

If you are feeling any of the following symptoms, consider speaking to a trusted colleague or line manager or contact any of the listed organisations below:

Please watch this short video on how to deal with stress.

  • 'NHS in Mind' is a free platform containing 8 easy-to-access, short interventions to help NHS staff alleviate and combat high anxiety, panic and fatigue at this time. 
  • Covid Calm  is a free, short daily stress management clinic on Zoom, including quick mindfulness stressbusters and confidential discussions.
  • Frontline 19 is for doctors, nurses, auxiliary staff, paramedics, ambulance drivers, midwives, social workers, care home staff, firefighters and police officers can access emotional support, for free.
  • Shout is a free text messaging support service if you are struggling to cope and need help. You send a text with ‘FRONTLINE’ to 85258 to start a conversation.
  • My home life is a video service hosted on YouTube by Home Life England with useful information and support.
  • Community Care has developed a guide to help develop emotional resilience and wellbeing.
  • Information on coronavirus and wellbeing can be found on Mind - the mental health charity, Psychology Tools, Help for Heroes, Every mind matters.
  • There are lots of free apps which promote health and wellbeing such as, Breathly – just breathe, Sidekick, World Walking, Headspace.

Promote health and wellbeing by taking time out to take care for yourself:

There is also information and support on our 'Someone to talk to' page.

Are your children anxious?

You might be noticing signs of increasing anxiety in your child as they’re spending more time indoors and isolated from their normal routine and social contact. These might include:

  • Acting out such as picking fights with you or with siblings.
  • Becoming afraid to leave the house.
  • Distancing themselves from their friends and family.
  • Exhibiting intense emotions but being unable to talk about what they’re feeling.

Younger children pick up bits of information from their friends, from the news and from listening to adults talking around them, but they can misunderstand what they hear. Talk about the news openly and calmly, giving them age-appropriate information, visit BBC Newsround hub and the Children’s guide to coronavirus by the Children’s Commissioner.

Encourage them to ask you questions and be honest and reassuring when answering. Be open about your own feelings to let them know it’s normal.

Older children will have the same anxieties about their own health and their family’s and friends, but they’re also likely to feel socially isolated and worried about the result of school closures on their education and what life will be like after it’s all over. Reassure them when more guidance comes from the school you will let them know and encourage them to maintain social ties, while being safe online.

If you’re worried about your child’s anxiety Young Minds has tips, advice and guidance about coronavirus and mental health support for children. They’ve opened a parents’ helpline for confidential expert advice, call 0808 802 5544.

Back to school support

Here is some advice on how to create a positive learning environment at home:

  • Be realistic about what you can do. You’re not expected to become teachers and your children aren’t expected to learn as they do in school. Simply providing your children with some structure at home will help them adapt.
  • Share the load if there are two parents at home. You could try splitting the day into two to three hour slots, allowing you to focus on your own work as well.
  • Keep to a timetable wherever possible. Following a set routine, which you can agree with your child, is what they’re used to. Try to eat breakfast at the same time every day and make sure they’re dressed before starting the ‘school’ day – avoid staying in pyjamas!
  • Consider combining timetables if you have more than one child at home. For example, doing exercise or maths together might make it more enjoyable?
  • Designate a workspace if possible, having a clear cut-off to signal when school time is over to separate ‘school’ and home life.
  • Make time for exercise and breaks throughout the day. Perhaps start the day with a 9am PE lesson with Joe Wicks (other online fitness classes are available)! If you have a garden, use it regularly. If you don’t, try to get out once a day, sticking to the government social distancing guidelines.
  • Record what your child has done each day. This can be a clear sign the ‘school’ day has ended.

Bitesize Daily

The BBC has also launched its online education programme, Bitesize Daily, which offers 14 weeks of curriculum-based learning for kids across the UK. Lessons will be delivered by more than 200 teachers and a host of familiar faces including Professor Brian Cox, Sir David Attenborough and Sergio Aguero, a footballer who plays for Manchester City FC. Some online education resources are also available for teachers from Oak National Academy.

Take care of everyone’s health and wellbeing.

This situation is new for all of us, so give it time to settle. In addition to the exercise tips above, the NHS’s Every Mind Matters pages give advice on how to look after your mental health during this period. The Anna Freud Centre also provides advice on caring for the mental health and wellbeing of infants, children and their families.

Support for secondary school aged children

The Our Time Youth Agency is supporting secondary school aged children in the district by holding weekly Instagram sessions, which include:

  • Competitions.
  • Influencer interviews.
  • Live sessions exploring how young people are coping with the lockdown.
  • Chats about music, movies, gaming, personal issues, sport and fitness.

There is also lots of information, support and light-hearted fun to keep you connected virtually and safely at home and when life returns to normal.

Keeping children safe

Organisations are working hard to be there for children. A range of help and support is available:

  • Childline is a free online and phone support for children, phonelines are open from 9 am to midnight - call 0800 1111 or visit their website.
  • NSPCC if you're worried about a child or young person, - call, for free, 0808 800 5000 or visit their website.
  • If you’re concerned about the safety of a child or young person call 0300 470 9100 (01483 517898 out of office hours) to speak to the
    specialist team at Surrey Children’s Single Point of Access.

Keeping children safe online

There is also information and support on our 'Someone to talk to' page.

Inclusive activities for all ages and abilities

KEEN is a charity organisation working to promote inclusivity throughout the community. They have created a set of exciting inclusive online projects to get active, including movement, baking, crafts, drumming and so much more. If you're feeling isolated, bored, frustrated, or simply want to meet some new people and have some fun, then these sessions are absolutely for you! You can also engage in smaller groups before you join in with the regular sessions. 

At this time of social isolation, you might be unsure about what to do if your child is ill or injured, particularly given government advice about staying at home. While it’s extremely important to follow government advice to stay at home during this period, NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same care they always have if you really need it.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has published some advice for parents during coronavirus to clarify the help available.

Guidance is also available to help parents or carers support children or young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the current situation.

  • Make time for regular phone calls to keep connected with family and friends as we can’t meet face to face.
  • Thanks to the wonders of the internet and the online world, there are plenty of ways we can stay connected to family, friends and colleagues while practicing self-isolation and social distancing at home.
  • If you have a smartphone, tablet or computer, consider installing Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom or Houseparty. They are free, easy to install and a simple way to have some light-hearted fun with others, essentially bringing you a little bit closer, from a safe distance. Perhaps you could virtually meet up with friends or family by arranging a video chat over a coffee or a meal.
  • Join social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to stay connected and find out what’s happening in your local community.
  • If you know people who don’t have access to the internet, you could send them a postcard or letter. It creates a wonderful surprise for the recipient and research has shown it can make both the writer and the recipient happier. Family members in care homes or in prison are cut off from visitors during the coronavirus outbreak, but they can receive letters and cards which will brighten up their day.

There is also information and support on our 'Someone to talk to' page.

Board games and jigsaws are the ideal thing to play in households and helps tighten family ties while alleviating boredom and reducing stress while we are self-isolating.

Almost all classic board games also have an online equivalent which have been adapted for playing on tablets and phones and lets you challenge and play online with friends.

The Cooper Gallery in Barnsley has transformed its art collection into jigsaws for people to piece together online. It also runs a daily internet puzzle challenge using artworks from its collection. People from around the world - including Brazil - have competed to solve them in the quickest time during the lockdown.

Other popular activities which can be done together or by yourself include, Lego or Airfix construction kits or creating visual masterpieces using art and craft materials.

There’s also a wide range of other online activities available for all ages, including:

  • Registering and accessing online library services: Free eBooks, eAudio, eMagazines, eComic and newspapers as well as other resources which can be accessed at home.
  • Surrey libraries are running a Storytime session every Wednesday at 10.30am and Rhymetime every Monday and Friday at 10.30am.
  • Surrey libraries have a science club for kids taking place every week as well. For more information, times and new content you can visit their Facebook page.
  • There are lots more resources about maths, geography and history listed on the Surrey libraries website to keep your children entertained and learning.
  • Exploring Surrey’s Past is inviting people to share their experiences of life during the lockdown by keeping a 'Covid Diary' and also sharing photographs of how life has changed so rapidly across the county. The centre also has a wide range of online learning resources and activities for everyone.
  • Free online concerts, such as Royal Albert Home, featuring world-renowned musicians delivering concerts from their homes to yours.
  • Free online virtual tours of museums, galleries, theme parks and other attractions. You can visit the Royal AcademyTateVictoria & Albert, the British Museum, even the Louvre in ParisGuggenheim Museum in New York and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
  • Virtual cooking lessons from famous chefs. 
  • The Open University OpenLearn gives you access to free course materials and expert opinion on topical issues including sport, health and psychology through to education and development, business and leadership.
  • BBC Teach has resources and videos for parents and children.
  • BBC Bitesize has fun games and ideas in small chunks to keep children engaged, also available by downloading the Bitesize App. 
  • Bitesize Daily offers 14 weeks of curriculum-based learning for kids across the UK. Lessons will be delivered by more than 200 teachers and a host of familiar faces including Professor Brian Cox, Sir David Attenborough and Sergio Aguero, a footballer who plays for Manchester City FC.
  • Some online education resources are also available for teachers from Oak National Academy.

Activities for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s

Active Minds has been developing activities to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. They create positive, mindfully designed, person-centred activity products and games to help people lead active lives.

Covid-19 has caused a lot of sudden changes to people's lives. Many of the activities or routines you once had are no longer doable.

Creating a new routine and structure to your day can help when there’s lots of uncertainty. Doing the same activities each day can help create a comfortable, familiar space if you are feeling anxious.

Every Mind Matters suggests writing a plan for your day or your week by getting up and ready in the same way as normal, keep to the same working hours and stick to the same sleeping schedule.

It's important to stay as active as you can and there are many ways to keep moving inside or in the garden, so you can get some exercise.

Even a small amount of activity will have a positive impact on your physical and mental health and there's plenty you can do:

  • NHS workout videos have wake-up exercise to aerobics and the most technical equipment you need is a bottle of water.
  • Going for a brisk walk or a gentle jog benefits your mind and body. Our local parks and open spaces remain open, but ensure you follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Visit Sport England's 'Join the Movement' at www.stayinworkout.org which gives you fun and creative ideas on how to get active at home or outdoors.
  • Free home workouts:
  • The NHS has a free Couch to 5K weekly training program to support people to get running.
  • Mayathon is a free app which allows people to buddy up and encourage each other to be active and do 26 minutes of exercise a day.
  • Try to break up long periods of sitting by getting up and moving for at least five minutes each hour. Play your favourite music and have a dance or walk up and down the stairs. 10 Today also has a short, enjoyable and easy exercise routine.
  • Everyday activities such as doing the vacuuming, hanging out the washing and mowing the lawn all count towards your daily activity levels.

Many of the suggestions above are suitable for children and there is also:

  • Cosmic Kids Yoga which is great for mindfulness and relaxation for kids.
  • BBC Supermovers has ways to keep children on the move.
  • Add some creative time or watch a dance video from Go Noodle to get the heart rate going.

Staying active for older people:

  • Active Surrey has workouts for older people and guidance if you have a fall.
  • Quaran-tin workout has been uploaded to YouTube by a qualified Occupational Therapist.
  • 10 minutes of activity at 10 Today has short, enjoyable and easy exercise routines.​
  • Free online ‘silver swans’ ballet exercise classes which can be viewed on the Royal Academy of Dance YouTube channel or Facebook page.
  • AgeUK has advice and videos if you want to get more active but are not sure where to start.
  • We are undefeatable has advice on keeping moving, particularly if you are managing a long term health condition.

Don’t forget

If you exercise outside:

  • Keep non-home exercise to once per day.
  • Make the exercise as local as you can to keep traffic off the road.
  • Keep your distance from others, two metres minimum.
  • You can meet one person from outside your household outdoors to exercise together, but keep two metres apart.
  • Wash your hands as soon as you return home.
  • Don’t exercise if you feel at all unwell.
  • If you have been ill, return to exercise gradually.

Thank you to the majority of cyclists, motorists and pedestrians who have been sticking to the government guidelines by exercising indoors or staying local and observing social distancing.

Try to eat and drink the right things. It can be a little trickier in terms of shopping, but do what you can to eat well. Avoid drinking too much, smoking or taking drugs.

Eating a variety of foods and maintaining a healthy balanced diet is recommended to support your immune system. Making healthy food choices can be a challenge at the best of times. There is information on healthy foods and eating well at Change4Life and NHS Live Well.

Healthy eating is always important, but with increased time at home it may be something you want to focus on more. You may have longer to spend cooking and planning meals. Now could be a good time to try out new recipes and foods.

Cooking can be a great activity to teach children and keeps them entertained. There are a range of resources around cooking and healthy eating available for children at Food a Fact of Life.

You may notice you’ve been tucking into the biscuit tin more often than usual or find yourself snacking or comfort eating. There are lots of tasty healthy snacks for adults and kids to explore. Now could also be a good time to make some small achievable changes in your eating habits.

Drinking enough water is extremely important to keep your body healthy and reduce the risk of infections. The NHS website has more information about water, drinks and your health.

For frequently asked questions around food and coronavirus, visit The British Dietetic Association (BDA).

Surrey Drug and Alcohol Care provide confidential, non judgemental support for drugs, alcohol, mental health and wellbeing, call their freephone number 0808 802 5000 which is open 24 hours a day.

Drinkaware also has lots of information and support available and if you’re worried about someone else’s drinking call Drinkline on 0300 123 1110 or talk to a trained advisor anonymously online via Drinkchat.

There is also information and support on our 'Someone to talk to' page.

It’s normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. It’s ok to have days when you cope better than others. You won’t be alone and it’s important to talk about it.

Let people know how you’re feeling and focus on the things you can control. If the news is making you anxious, choose a set time in the morning and/or evening to catch up with what’s going on. Ensure your sources of information are trusted, for accurate and up to date advice visit, GOV.UK, the NHS and the BBC.

Mind has produced information on coronavirus and mental wellbeing. The government has issued guidance for people struggling with their mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. For more advice about coping with your anxiety and information about local services which can support you visit the NHS websiteEvery Mind MattersAnxiety UKSamaritans or SilverlineOur website also has a list of organisations offering support.

If you're isolated or feeling anxious about coronavirus, here are some ideas to look after your mental wellbeing:

  • Practise relaxation and mindfulness to boost your mood. The NHS has hints and tips on mindfulness and Every Mind Matters has specific advice on maintaining good mental wellbeing during the current situation.
  • Mental health charity Mind has put together detailed advice.
  • Gardening can help tackle stress and anxiety and improve your physical health, so it's a great time to get outside and brighten up your garden

Safe Havens has also remained open for people experiencing a mental health crisis and can offer peer support in a welcoming setting, an appropriate alternative to A&E for those experiencing mental health problems and their carers, and professional staff, including mental health practitioners who are able to carry out mental health assessments if needed. The Safe Havens are available in Guildford, Woking, Aldershot, Redhill and Epsom.

There is also information and support on our 'Someone to talk to' page.

Social isolation may put survivors of domestic abuse at further risk. A range of help and support is available:

  • Refuge’s free 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline is available on 0808 200 247.
  • Surrey Domestic Abuse Partnership’s ‘Your Sanctuary’ Domestic Abuse Helpline is available on 01483 776822 from 9am to 9pm, seven days a week. An online chat service is also available for information or support. 
  • Safe Lives has an excellent guide for victims and survivors of domestic abuse to stay safe during COVID-19.
  • Women’s Aid has advice on making a personal safety plan and information for survivors, friends, family, neighbours and community members. 
  • The Employer’s Initiative on Domestic Abuse has help for employees when home is not a safe place.
  • The Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance has produced guidance for housing providers on how to offer safe responses to tenants and service users.
  • Respect is also calling on perpetrators of domestic abuse to get help to manage and change their behaviour, by calling the Respect phoneline on 0800 8024040.
  • Standing Together Against Domestic Abuse has guidance to support organisations to identify and respond to domestic abuse. 
  • Surrey Against Domestic Abuse provides information on how to get help and keep yourself and your children safe on 01483 776822.
  • Your Sanctuary helpline available 9am to 9pm 7 days a week, offering support, information and signposting. An online chat service is available via their website. Your Sanctuary also runs two safe houses for women and children fleeing from domestic abuse, and a specialist male support service available to men across Surrey.
  • Men’s Advice Line has a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse on 0808 801 0327.
  • National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline has emotional and practical support for LGBT+ people on 0800 999 5428.

The government has guidance for people who are experiencing, or feel at risk of, domestic abuse and advice on surviving economic abuse is also available.

Silent Solution
If you’re in an emergency situation and need police help but can’t speak, make yourself heard and let the 999 operator know your call is genuine by pressing ‘55’.

When transferred to your local police force, the police call handler will attempt to communicate with you by asking simple yes or no questions. If you are not able to speak, listen carefully to the questions and instructions from the call handler so they can assess your call and arrange help if needed.

There is also information and support on our 'Someone to talk to' page.

Bereavement is hard at the best of times, but in isolation, with people unable to be with loved ones or attend funerals, bereavement is exceptionally hard. Surrey County Council has published bereavement advice, which includes details of organisations who can provide support for residents coping with a bereavement, as well as advice on registering a death and arranging a funeral.

Cruse, the bereavement support charity can offer emotional support for residents in Surrey either online or call 0808 808 1677 - Monday-Friday 9.30-5pm (excluding bank holidays), with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, when they’re open until 8pm. You can also e-mail helpline@cruse.org.uk. They also have local offices in the South East Surrey area (including Reigate, Godstone, Redhill and Lingfield) Helpline: 01737 772 834  or e-mail: southeastsurrey@cruse.org.uk.

AtaLoss.org is a national charity committed to ensuring no-one who is bereaved is left without support when they need it. They provide a website directory of local and national bereavement support adapted to current restrictions.

Public Health England has issued new guidance to ensure funerals are conducted safely and in line with social distancing guidelines, including advice on:

  • Limiting the numbers of people attending funerals to as low as possible to ensure safe social distancing.
  • Observing social distancing across all aspects of attending a funeral.
  • Ensuring those who have symptoms of coronavirus not attending funerals and staying at home.
  • Measures to reduce the risk for clinically vulnerable (shielded) people attending funerals.

There is also more information and support on our 'Someone to talk to' page.

This guide by the Dementia Friendly Community in Oxted aims to inform anyone with dementia and their family members of the support available to them. It is divided into two sections:

  • General information on national and local services.
  • Local information on social and support groups in the Tandridge district

Finding dementia support in the Tandridge area

Our Wellbeing Prescription advisors offer free support to residents aged 18 or over to help them improve their health and wellbeing. Our advisors can offer advice and support on how to:

  • Remain active.
  • Maintain a healthy balanced diet (including guidance for managing type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure).
  • Improve sleep.
  • Improve your emotional wellbeing, offering regular telephone support, referrals to NHS talking therapies and signposting to a variety of online or app mental health resources. 
  • Set goals, routines, habits and motivation.  

If you’d like support, please contact the Wellbeing Prescription team or call 01883 732787. Once normal service resumes, residents will be supported face to face in their GP practices or at home if they're housebound.