What can help
What can help

Storytelling is one of the foundations of our culture. We can create connections by sharing stories – especially those that offer inspiration and hope. Recovery in mental health is not always well understood; sharing your story makes personal recovery come alive. It also supports values and strengthens lessons learned from life experiences. It helps to build community and create connections.

You can find lots of inspirational stories; use the search bar at the top to find stories relevant to you. To return to this page after a search, please press the back button in your browser.

Alternatively if you are a registered student and would like to write your story and want to share it, please contact us. You can read about other students experiences on our testimonials page and learn more about getting involved on our student development programme page.

How to keep well at home during the Coronavirus outbreak

Louisa Whorrod
27 January 2021

Use recovery principles to stay in check, by having hope, looking to make the
most out of the opportunity to stay at home with your family and exercise control with our five ways to wellbeing. 

Follow our tips below to see how you can use the time to learn, get creative, relax, keep active, give to others and be mindful. 

For crisis support, visit our further help page, or the NHS page for support with
anxiety, stress and depression.
 If you're older or are worried about the welfare of an elderly relative,
we recommend you give 16 ways for older adults to stay safe this winter a read.

Remember, you're not going thorough this alone:

Jeanette describes what it's been like for her during lockdown


Getting to know yourself

Learn about yourself:

Think about your dreams, goals, feelings, worries, emotions, fears as well as your hobbies, interests, favoutite things to eat...
if you're not sure where to start, use the 'interview' technque in the 'connect with others' section of this page.

Take time to reflect


Practise self love

Self Love, Heart, Board, Blackboard, Wall, Chalk

Write down the positive attributes you possess

Read these 100 love yourself quotes 

Learn something new

Image result for podcasts

Learn through reading and listening using:

  1. Books
  2. Online articles
  3. Podcasts
  4. Youtube

Get free access to the following using your library membership

  1. Borrowbox app (audio and e-books)
  2. Press reader (Newspapers)

And if you can't wait for a specific book, try getting some of the free titles Audible are making available specifically to help with homeschooling and to entertain yourself during the outbreak.

Learn through writing

Use the time to research a topic of interest

  • Start that book
  • For those with the travel bug, recall your favourite trip or plan the next one!

More tips on our writing creatively for wellbeing article.and creative writing course

Learn that new hobby

Study your past

Image result for family tree]


Use this time to check:

  1. Your Family history

  2. Historical newspapers

  3. The online reference library

Upskill with free courses

If you’re not sure where to start, there are also thousands of free courses online via the:

  1. Open University website (free academic-focused courses, such as finance, HR and teaching)
  2. Library resources website (500 courses from art and photography, home and garden, to writing skills)
  3. BT website ( courses to learn skills such as parenting skills, dealing with money and other daily life management areas)
  4. Futurelearn also gives free online courses and even has one on how to cope with the coronavirus

Connecting with others

Find new ways to connect to friends and family

Image result for facetime

Connect with your immediate family by:

  1. Read to your kids, partner – or listen to audiobooks together
  2. Pick songs and play music together
  3. Dust off those old board game

Relearn about your family

People change every year, likes and dislikes change. So get to know our family again by ‘interviewing them’.

  • Ask about:
    • Favourite restaurants
    • Music
    • Hobbies
    • Sports teams
    • Holiday spots
    • Favourite foods
  • Then think of ways you can give to each of your family members in the future to meet their needs.

For example, if their hobby is cycling, you can just take an interest by learning what they love about cycling, take out
cycling magazine subscriptions for them or find new routes to talk to them about. If their favourite restaurant has changed,
make a plan to take them to the new favourite restaurant when things get better

Chat/video call using group chats like:

  1. WhatsApp
  2. Facebook
  3. Skype
  4. Zoom
  5. facetime

With whatsapp and Zoom, you can even video call multiple people at the same time!

Play games and puzzles

With thousands of games and puzzle apps on phones, tablets and online, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. For example, you can get free jigsaws on the Jigidy website

Make it a family affair with

  1. board games
  2. online quizzes
  3. or use these party games to utilise your TV and mobile phones to compete against each other

Find other ways to reduce loneliness, such as:

  1. Self-refer for talking therapies
  2. Try opening up to friends and family
  3. Try not to compare yourself to others
  4. Make connections with others by joining free activities and social groups online
  5. Keep away from negative news and focus on ways you can connect with others instead
  6. Look after yourself - our courses can help you discover how

Keep active

  1. Run up and down the stairs
  2. Create a workout routine in the garden using everyday household objects
  3. Use YouTube to find relaxing yoga workouts for complete beginners or
  4.  HITT routines with no equipment

Take Notice

Practice meditation and mindfulness to relax

Try YouTube or apps like headspace for guided meditations – or find articles online for mindfulness exercises.

Take up gardening

Image result for gardening and gloves

Learning how to grow a garden is endless and greatly improves your mindfulness and overall wellbeing! Try:

Make room in your head as well as your home with a clear-out

Having less clutter clears the home and the mind.

  1. Make space and create joy with Marie Kondo’s ‘the art of tidying up’ book
  2. And if clearing out your wardrobe is the hardest thing for you, try reading ‘how to break up with fast fashion’
    – which also talks about how minimising your wardrobe can help the environment!


Use what you know already

Use the answers your family members gave you during the 'interview' to find ways to give. 

For example, if your family enjoys musicals, you could dig out one of the DVDs and pop it on a surprise.
Or if they like having coffee, make it a new routine to make them a cup of coffee in the mornings, or even give them breakfast in bed.

Make something to give to others later

Even if you’re not the ‘crafty type’, giving helps your wellbeing.

Think creatively about what you can make to give to your family or friends later …
Try following an art class on youtube, do one of these 100 DIY and craft ideas or use https://www.creativehertfordshire.com/ and
Herts Year of Culture page to get inspired.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you will enjoy!

Fun things to do to help your


Listening to music

Image result for playing piano

Music can have a positive effect on your wellbeing, from inspiring you to dance, feel motivated and relaxing you. You can:

  1. Learn a new instrument
  2. Get nostalgic with your old record player, CDs and iTunes account
  3. Listen to new or unusual bands on Spotify free
  4. relax with a free version of calm radio online
  5. listen to popular classical music for free on Naxos


Relax with a movie

Image result for dvd and duvet day

Now’s never been a better time to have a DVD and duvet day!

And some of the latest blockbusters that were due to screen at the cinema will be released straight on streaming
services, meaning you can watch the latest films on your sofa!

Look at inspiring pictures

Image result for inspriring nature pictures

Whether you prefer to see those pictures of your kids from 20 years ago or research about your favourite artists online;
there is plenty of beauty in the world to look at too.

Search for relaxing images of woodland areas, beaches and canyons to keep you calm and inspired whilst indoors.

Soak in the bath to relax

Go one step further, turn off the lights, light candles and play spa music, so you can
hear the birds, music and look at beautiful photography whilst relaxing!


If you want to keep up to date on coronavirus and watch some comforting videos related to staying well
during the pandemic, we recommend reading reliable sources such as on the NHS or government website
and watching these: