Keeping your family healthy

Staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for many of us. Even when restrictions have been lifted, many of us are dealing with lasting effects on our family's physical and mental health. And there is no shortage of worrying news headlines. Here are some ideas to help.

Supporting your family in challenging times

There are so many events across the world and closer to home that can cause us to worry. From the pandemic, to climate change, conflicts, wars, political upheaval and the cost of living.

You may find children and young people in your family are aware of these issues, but have difficulty processing the news and have questions. Some young people with access to social media may share inaccurate or distressing content. Here are some links to help.

You may also be interested in: Support for staff during the Ukraine conflict

Get into a routine

Keeping to a routine is a great way to add structure to your day and help maintain a sense of normality, even if things around you feel abnormal. Your routine doesn't need to be strict, but you should build in regular time each day for showering, eating and exercising, as well as hobbies and exercise.

Children, in particular, thrive with a good routine. It helps them to feel safe and understand what's expected of them. Try and keep to set mealtimes and bedtimes, as well as setting aside time for school and homework each day.

Keep in touch

People of all ages and circumstances can start to feel lonely when they're no longer connecting with friends and family. Even at times when many things have opened up, some people find their social circles have got smaller and loneliness is still a big problem for many. Try scheduling weekly calls - pick up the phone, start a Zoom call, or a WhatsApp video call - for your family, your children, friends and neighbours to stay connected. 

Get active

Taking regular walks in the fresh air is a great way to improve both your physical and mental health. And if you can walk in nature, in woods or green areas, research shows it can really boost your mood. Some people have moved to working from home more, so are walking fewer steps a day. Others may have started new exercise habits, but had varying success with keeping going. 

Every day is a chance for a new start with exercise. Even half an hour a day can make a big difference to how you feel.

Fresh air all year round

  • When it's very hot, get your fresh air and exercise in the early morning, or evening, to avoid dehydration during the hottest part of the day.
  • In overcast or warmer weather, go for a walk or bike ride. You can also try a picnic in the garden if you have access, or a local park. 
  • In cool or wet weather, this could be just sticking a jumper on and opening a window. Or a shorter walk between rain showers, dressed for the season.
  • In very cold weather, wrap up warm, wear shoes with a good grip and watch out for icy patches. And if there's snow, get out and enjoy it if it's safe!

Get fit at home

Spend quality time together

It's easy to become frustrated, or overworked and put off spending quality time with your family doing productive and fun things together. Try to set aside some time to do group activities , play games and enjoy each others company, especially for your children who will appreciate the time they get to spend with you.

Mental health support for children

If your child lives in Berkshire and is struggling with severe or moderate mental health difficulties, you can refer them to our CAMHS team for support on any of the following:

  • Autism assessments
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Early intervention in Psychosis
  • General mental health support from our 'Getting Help' teams

Please read our referral criteria before referring, or call us on 0300 356 1234 for help and advice on the next steps. 

Find out more about our children's services

Find out about referrals

Local early intervention services

If you're worried about your child's health but aren't ready to refer them to our CAMHS team, you can also contact the early intervention services in your local area (also known as the Local Offer):