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COVID-19: Look after your mental health


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the protective measures put in place to combat it may cause psychological upheaval (loss of bearings, social isolation, anxiety, mood swings, insomnia, etc.). But, even against this backdrop, it is possible – and, indeed, desirable – to maintain your well-being and look after yourself and your mental health.

With this goal in mind, it is important to:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can achieve this by doing a few simple things every day: establishing a routine, eating healthily, getting enough sleep and going to bed at a regular time, taking regular physical exercise and keeping in touch with your friends and family.
  • Unleash your creativity. Paint, play music, do some DIY, cook, write ... anything is possible! Practising a creative activity is a good way to express your thoughts and emotions. Letting your creativity run free releases tension and gets rid of negative emotions, allowing you to relax and recharge your batteries.

If you feel down:

Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself as you would a friend: with kindness, understanding and encouragement. This is called self-compassion and fosters positive emotions without creating fatigue or wearing you out.

If negative emotions, such as worry, anxiety or fear, set in (which is normal at the moment), try not to let yourself become overwhelmed. Learn to deal with them:

Practise one of many breathing techniques:

  • Yoga with the CERN yoga club: see here and here.
  • Cardiac coherence: a natural physiological state in which the nervous, cardiovascular, hormonal and immune systems work efficiently and harmoniously. The principle: breathe in for five seconds, then out for five seconds, i.e. six breaths per minute (free smartphone apps are available).
  • Meditation, sophrology.
  • A breathing technique suggested by Christiane Reis, the CERN Medical Service’s psychologist.
(Image: CERN)

If you need support on a specific issue, the following services are also available to you:

  • The COVID-19 helpline: +41 22 766 77 77
  • The Medical Service: +41 22 767 31 86 / medical.service@cern.ch.
  • The CERN psychologist, Christiane Reis (appointments can be made through the Medical Service).


For more tips from the Medical Service, click here.