CORONAVIRUS has plunged the UK into uncertainty, with many feeling that the news about the pandemic is relentless.

Many aspects of coronavirus can impact people's mental health, particularly affecting those with pre-existing mental health conditions like anxiety.

With all of that in mind, how can we protect our mental health and wellbeing?

Dorset Mind have devised a variety of ideas and methods which should help reduce anxiety and stress.

Here are just a few of their tips.

Spend time in nature and get some fresh air and sunlight

Spending time in a lovely green space or incorporating nature into your everyday life will benefit your mental and physical wellbeing.

This can improve your mood, make you feel more relaxed and reduce feelings such as anger and stress.

Bringing nature into your home will help you get the same, positive effects if you are unable to go outside.

Welcome a succulent, cactus or houseplant into your living space to experience nature close to home.

Opening your windows for fresh air, using natural materials to decorate your home, growing plants or flowers on windowsills and even listening to natural sounds can help you feel more relaxed.

Stay connected with people

Maintaining human interaction and staying connected with those you love is vital during these challenging times.

Keeping in touch digitally is a great way to keep in contact with loved ones you are unable to see in person.

Making plans to video chat with people or groups you’d normally see in person also gives you something to look forward to.

To avoid worrying about having nothing to talk about, arrange to watch a recommended show, read a book or write about something interesting then discuss this with those you are talking to.

If all parties do this, there will be plenty to discuss.

Alternatively, you can connect by writing a letter to someone.

Receiving a letter is always exciting regardless of age, so put a pen to paper and talk to someone through the page.

Hand washing and anxiety

For some, it can be hard to hear the constant advice about washing your hands, and can cause difficult feelings or behaviours regarding washing and hygiene.

To reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, here are some things Dorset Mind suggest you try:

1. Breathing exercises can help you cope and feel more in control.

Breathing exercises give you something else to focus on, resulting in a reduction of stress.

2. Set limits to how long you wash your hands for.

Stick to the recommended 20 seconds to become familiar with washing your hands for this set period of time.

Doing this may also help you develop a routine to comply with.

3. Plan something to do after washing your hands.

This could help distract you and change your focus.

Try to keep active

Building physical activity into your daily routine is a great way to boost energy and happiness all in one go.

Even if you don't particularly enjoy exercise, you can't replace that feeling of achievement once you've completed a particularly difficult workout.

However, keeping active isn't limited to doing lunges and push-ups.

Exercising at home can be simple and there are options for most ages and abilities.

These include dancing to music, cleaning your home, seated exercises and more.

Even stretching your legs and walking around the house will help.

Express creativity and relax

Many of us now have more time on our hands, making this the perfect opportunity to start that hobby we have always wanted to try.

Here are some creative yet relaxing ideas you can have a go at:

1. Arts and crafts, such as drawing, painting, collage, sewing, craft kits or upcycling.

2. Writing

3. Yoga

4. Colouring

5. DIY

To read Dorset Mind's full list of ways to help look after our wellbeing and mental health during this pandemic, visit: