For many of us, the COVID-19 outbreak marks one of the most significant and stressful periods of our lives. Not only has it made us all more worried about our own health and the health of those we love, but it has also had a ripple effect which has impacted job security, travel, socialising, shopping and more.

This has of course taken its toll on our mental health. We’ve spent a huge chunk of the past year isolated in our homes, witnessing stressful developments as they happen in real time, and consequentially living in fear.

So now that things are starting to move more towards normality, it’s important to take stock of your mental health and do what you can to improve your wellbeing. Here are our top tips for boosting your mental health during these tough times.

Try not to panic – stick to reputable sources

It can be tempting to constantly search for updates on the COVID-19 situation, trying to get as much information as possible on current strains, threats and possibilities. You might start your search on reputable sources, but it’s all too easy to find yourself trawling through emotional comment sections or more speculative news sources. This can have a big impact on how you’re feeling, increasing your stress levels and making you more worried than you need to be.

Try to take one day at a time instead of catastrophising and imagining the worst possible outcome. Choose news sources that you feel are trustworthy, and stick to those when getting your updates. You should also give yourself a bit of a break from the headlines when it all feels like it’s becoming too much.

Give yourself peace of mind with a rapid antigen test

If you find yourself constantly worried about your own health, taking a rapid antigen test is a great way to give yourself peace of mind and remove any doubt from your head. These tests can be easily ordered online, and will give you fast results about whether or not you have the virus. This is especially useful if you are making plans to go out and are worried about spreading harmful germs. Taking a rapid antigen test before you go out lets you know that you’re good to go.

You can get a rapid antigen test from trusted online suppliers, including

Stay connected and make plans

We’ve spent much of the past year cut off from the rest of the world, so be sure to take the time to connect with friends and family and let them know how you’re feeling. If you’re really struggling, you can also call your GP to talk about what options there are available for you.

Now that hospitality and leisure facilities are opening again, you can start making plans with your loved ones. Go out for a meal, take a trip to a museum, book an exercise class or even enjoy a staycation at a nearby hotel. Just be sure to take precautions and follow all the rules while you’re out and about.

Enjoy some time in nature

During lockdown, the only outdoor activities available involved going for walks, runs or bike rides. Now that venues are opening up again, you might be tempted to ditch the outdoor time and instead enjoy the activities you haven’t been able to do during the pandemic.

However, having some time out in nature is still very worthwhile. Research shows that being in the great outdoors is a great natural stress reliever, helping us unwind and take stock.