The Christmas period can be a particularly tricky time if you’re struggling with your mental health. Not only do the dark nights and miserable weather have the power to make us feel extra rubbish, but feeling sad, lonely or anxious at a time traditionally reserved for joy can feel particularly difficult.
And this year, with the ongoing stress of the coronavirus pandemic also taking its toll on people’s mental health, it’s likely that the number of people struggling will be higher than usual.
However, just because more people are facing these kinds of issues, doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of help available if you find yourself struggling. Indeed, alongside visiting your GP and accessing NHS mental health services (such as talking therapy), there are also a great number of free online mental health resources which can be easily accessed from home.
Indeed, throughout 2020, Stylist has spoken to a wide range of mental health professionals, therapists and experts to help you look after yourself during the pandemic. From breathing exercises to tips on coping with health anxiety, we’ve got a range of different articles full of expert advice for you to check out alongside these resources.
So without further ado, here’s our guide to some of the best free online resources you can access at home.
Mindwalk Yoga’s Drop-In Classes
Virtual yoga studio and social enterprise Mindwalk Yoga’s yoga-for-anxiety classes are completely free to join and take place online four times a week. Perfect for all levels and abilities, to book onto a class all you need to do is sign-up online.
Participants who can afford to pay are encouraged to leave a donation via PayPal or sign-up to Mindwalk Yoga’s Patreon, but the class itself is completely free.
Peer emotional support app HearMe
This free app allows users to connect with a trained, empathetic HearMe listener in real-time to allow you to open up about something that’s on your mind.
The service is completely anonymous and secure, so you don’t need to worry about your personal information going anywhere – just get whatever is on your mind off your chest by sitting down for a quick chat with a trained listener.
You can download the app here via the HearMe website.
Calm’s #CalmTogether Guide
Mindfulness meditation app Calm is offering a bunch of resources for free to help people who are feeling anxious and uncertain at the moment.
From soothing meditations help you manage anxiety to sleep stories which will help to calm your busy mind at the end of the day, these free resources are a great way to ground your mind in this unprecedented time.
To access all the free resources, just follow the link to their website.
Headspace’s Weathering The Storm series
To help people all over the world cope during these uncertain times, mindfulness meditation app Headspace has released a series of free content available to download via its app.
Covering content including navigating change, reframing anxiety, at-home workouts, focus and advice for tough times (such as impermanence and change), the series is designed to help us safeguard our mental health and wellbeing during this time of heightened stress. On top of this, Headspace is offering a free year of Headspace Plus for anyone who is unemployed and living in the US or UK at the moment.
To access the free content, simply download the app and get listening, or go to the Headspace website.
NHS Every Mind Matters
This free site powered by the NHS and Public Health England provides access to loads of free mental health resources and advice.
Their Your Mind Plan service even provides you tailored advice and resources based on a short quiz about how you’re feeling and any specific worries you may have at the moment.
You can access the resources on their website.
The Mindset Support Group with neuro-linguistic programming expert Rebecca Lockwood
This free Facebook group from mental health expert Rebecca Lockwood provides free, resource-based support for people who need help with their mental health during this tricky time.
Lockwood’s advice will include tips and tricks to deal with specific worries you might be having, free resources to help you with your mindset and training to give you the tools you need to cope.
To join the group, all you need to do is search “Mindset Support Group with Rebecca Lockwood” on Facebook.
Help Hub’s free online therapy sessions
New online therapy service Help Hub offers free 20-minute calls or video calls with one of their qualified therapists for anyone within the UK. Whatever your worries or concerns, Help Hub is designed to point you in the right direction and to provide you with some all-important emotional support.
Although the service was originally set up to provide support to a small area in West Oxfordshire, it expanded nationally after therapists across the UK volunteered their time to help people struggling with the effects of isolation.
To find out more information, and to register for a session, check out their website.
Set up specifically to support people working from home as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, this project allows newly remote workers to connect with others and learn more about how to manage their time when working from home.
Set up as a Slack group, this community is not only designed to help people feel more connected during the coronavirus pandemic: it’s also designed to help their wellbeing, too. Remote Workmates is hosting activities such as group discussions and events such as their Wellbeing Week, which includes virtual yoga, mindfulness and exercise sessions.
To join, just follow the link on their website.
Self-Care Is For Everyone
With over 800,000 followers, @selfcareisforeveryone is the wellbeing-focused Instagram account we all need right now.
Full of helpful self-care prompts, reassuring messages and relatable graphics, @selfcareisforeveryone is the place to go when you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and need a respite from everything that’s going on in the world.
To follow them, just search “@selfcareisforeveryone” on Instagram, or visit their website.
Talkspace’s Coronavirus Resource Hub
Online therapy service Talkspace is offering a free resource hub with lots of handy tips and tricks on everything from confronting feelings of powerlessness to how to manage working from home.
They’ve also created a coronavirus anxiety toolkit to talk you through everything you may be feeling right now – and all you need to sign up is an email address.
To find out more information and access their coronavirus support hub, visit their website.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with their mental health, you can find support and resources on the mental health charity Mind’s website and NHS Every Mind Matters or access the NHS’ list of mental health helplines and organisations here.
If you are struggling with your mental health as a result of loneliness, you can also ask your GP for a referral to NHS Talking Therapies, or you can self-refer.
For confidential support, you can also call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or email email@example.com.