Practical advice for staying at home

If you’re staying at home or indoors more than you usually would, this practical advice may help make things easier during these unusual times:

Eat well and stay hydrated

  • Think about your diet. Your appetite might change if your routine changes, or if you’re less active than you usually are. Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help your mood and energy levels. See national Mind's tips on food and mood for more information.

  • Drink water regularly. Drinking enough water is important for your mental and physical health. Changing your routine might affect when you drink or what fluids you drink. It could help to set an alarm or use an app to remind you. See the NHS website for more information about water, drinks and your health.

  • If you are self-isolating, you can ask someone to drop off essential food items for you. If they do this, ask them to leave food at your doorstep, to avoid face-to-face contact with each other.

  • You may find that supermarkets and online delivery services feel busier than usual at the moment. If you're feeling anxious about going to the supermarket or arranging an online delivery, it might help to try some of National Mind's self-care tips for anxiety, such as breathing exercises.

Keep taking your medication

  • You might be able to order repeat prescriptions by phone. Or you may be able to do this online using an app or website, if your doctor’s surgery offers this. You could download the free NHS App and search for your surgery, although some surgeries aren’t on the app yet. 

  • Ask your pharmacy about getting your medication delivered, or ask someone else to collect it for you. This will usually be possible, although if it’s a controlled drug the pharmacy might ask for proof of identity. Make sure anyone collecting medication knows if they have to pay for it. The NHS website has more information about getting prescriptions for someone else and checking if you have to pay for prescriptions.

  • Be careful about buying medication online. You should only buy from registered pharmacies. You can check if a pharmacy is registered on the General Pharmaceutical Council website. See National Mind's page on buying medication online for more information. 

  • You can also contact NHS 111 in England if you’re worried about accessing medication.

Continue accessing treatment and support if possible

  • Ask about having appointments by phone, text or online. For example, this could be with your counsellor, therapist or support worker.

  • Ask your therapist how they can support you, for example if you’re struggling with not seeing them face to face.

Take care of your immediate environment

  • If you are spending a lot of time at home, you may find it helpful to keep things clean and tidy, although this is different for different people.

  • If you live with other people, keeping things tidy might feel more important if you’re all at home together. But you might have different ideas about what counts as 'tidy' or how much it matters. It could help to decide together how you’ll use different spaces. And you could discuss what each person needs to feel comfortable. 

  • Cleaning your house, doing laundry and washing yourself are important ways to help stop germs spreading, including when there are warnings about particular diseases. The NHS website has advice about how to stop germs from spreading. And the UK Government website has advice about self-isolation which includes information about household cleaning.

  • Your energy costs will probably rise if you’re at home more than you usually would be. Think about how you can manage your energy use, or how to cover any higher bills. You could also ask your energy provider about any support they offer, for example if you can sign up to their priority services register. If you're worried about money, National Mind's page of useful contacts for money has details of organisations who may be able to help. 

Find ways to work or study at home

If you have a job which is possible to do from your home, you may be working from home a lot more than usual. You might find this situation difficult to get used to. If you have children, you may also need to look after them if they are no longer going to school or college.

These are some ideas which might help: For adults who can work from home

  • If you have an employer who has asked you to work from home, you can ask them about any policies they have for home working.

  • You can also ask them to help with setting things up at home, like any technology you might need.  

  • National Mind's Workplace Wellbeing team has more tips for people working from home, including advice if you manage others while working remotely.

For parents and carers of children and young people:

  • If you are working from home more than usual, you may find it especially difficult if you are also looking after children would usually be in nursery, school or college while you work.

  • Think about how to balance your work with caring for your children. If you have an employer, they may be able to help you balance your work and childcare responsibilities.

  • Some employers may ask if there is another adult who can supervise your children while you’re working. It may help to speak to your employer if you are concerned about this.

  • Think about being more lenient with your children’s social media and mobile phone use during their time at home. If your children would normally go to school or college, they will be used to being around other children for several hours a day. They might find it difficult to be removed from this, especially if they're also worried about their health.

  • Ask their school or college if any digital learning is available while your children are at home, and what technology they may need. Remember to add time in for breaks and lunch.

  • If no digital learning is available, you could encourage your children to select books or podcasts they'd like to explore during their time away from school or college. You can also think about card games, board games and puzzles, and any other ways to stay active or be creative.

  • For older teens, there are free online courses they could try out. For example, these could be from FutureLearn and BBC Bitesize.

  • Although high street library branches are closed, your local library might also have online activities or resources you can use. 

If you have care needs, or provide care or support to someone else

If you use care services

  • You should let your Local Authority and care provider know if you have to self-isolate.

  • Make it clear that any support is still needed. Tell them that alternative arrangements are required if any of the usual support can’t continue. This may include things like carers visiting, day centre sessions, or friends and family coming over to help.

  • Your Local Authority should have policies for this situation and should tell you how they can meet your needs.

If you provide care or support

The Carers UK website has detailed information about what to do if you provide care to someone else. This includes guidance on:

  • providing care for someone who is staying at home

  • what to do if you start to have symptoms of coronavirus

  • making a plan for your caring responsibilities during this time, for example in case you become ill.

If you provide care to someone you don't live with and you need to self-isolate, you should contact your Local Authority.

NHS England and the Welsh government are contacting people who they have identified as being at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. This is because of certain pre-existing physical health conditions.

If this affects you or someone you know, there is specific guidance that you should follow, and extra support available to help you:

If you need to contact South East and Central Essex Mind regarding your support, please email us at or call 01702 601123

South East and Central Essex Mind, 112a Southchurch Road

Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 2LX

Charity registration number 1148451