This is the moment a woman sat on a park bench during the coronavirus lockdown was arrested after telling police she was "exercising her mind".

The suspect posted the clip onto YouTube herself today under the caption "Arrested for being sat on a park bench! On my own".

She had allegedly spent an hour sat on the bench in Richmond, southwest London, on Sunday night to watch the sunset but officers repeatedly asked her to move.

When she allegedly refused to do so, the woman was detained and driven away in a police van.

In the video, a police officer says he had previously warned the woman she could not sit there for hours on end.

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The video captures a woman being arrested after she refused to move from a park bench during Covid-19 lockdown

He said: "I'd asked you why you were out and you said you were exercising mentally," to which the woman responds "I am, yeah."

The officer went on: "I don't think that's in the spirit of what's happening,"

The woman then says: "I'm in the spirit of social distancing. I'm sat here on my own. I'm not infecting anyone. That's the actual spirit.

"Quite frankly I'm not afraid to be honest. If I catch something I catch it. I'm only infecting myself.

"No one is sat near me."

The woman was taken away and into a police van in Richmond, southwest London

The police officer then tells her: "Well that's because I've just moved everyone else on."

He then asks her if she's willing to go home to which she replies: "I am willing to go home when the sun sets."

The PC then says: "Well you've been sat here for about an hour or so..." to which the woman interrupts to say: "I have yes, exercising mentally.

"I'm within my rights to exercise mentally, once a day, outdoors for as long as I like."

She then embroils the officer in a drawn out argument about whether government advice allows 'exercising mentally' to which the cop says he does not believe it does.

"I'm sorry, but the law doesn't specify," she says.

The PC says his interpretation is that the exercise needs to be physical, to which the woman crows: "But that's your interpretation, that's not what the law says is it?"

He then asks her to go home and she refuses until the sun sets - for another hour.

The global coronavirus pandemic is not just affecting people’s physical health. The anxiety, stress and uncertainty of it – and the sweeping changes we’re having to make to our lifestyles – are also having an impact on people’s mental health too.

If it’s making you feel that way, then you’re not alone.

It’s quite normal to feel this way in such a difficult and unpredictable situation.

Here are some tips and strategies recommended by our BACP members to help you cope with the mental health impacts of the current global situation.

Keep a routine

Many people are working from home for the first time in their lives, and some will now be juggling a full-time job and home-schooling their children.

Plus, there are people whose usual activities have been curtailed by self-isolation.

Our member Vasia Toxavidi says keeping a routine can be really important.

“Without a routine, negative thinking and anxiety can escalate. I would suggest that people create a day to day plan of things they will need to do e.g. create a morning exercise programme, work from home if possible, cook something different, get into an online course.”

Think about restricting access to news media and social media

Many of our members recommend having a think about how and when you access the news or social media.

This may involve choosing news sources you trust – and avoiding social media channels filled with speculation. Stick to the official government guidance and NHS advice websites.

Or limit your access to the news to a certain time of the day.

“Some people can be quite paralysed by this anxiety and may want to completely stop interacting with the news,” says Elizabeth Turp. 

Keep connected with friends and family

In our new world of self-isolation and social distancing, we can’t meet up with family and friends like we used to.

But keeping connected to them is vital.

Melani Halacre recommends “connecting online with friends and talking about other stuff, inventing new fun ways to connect. An online pub quiz among friends...learn a dance routine at home then share it? Play games online? Cook the same recipe in your own home whilst online?”

Be present

Emma Brand recommends ‘being present.’

“Take a breath and really experience where you are and how you are feeling. To take in your surroundings and thank the space/environment and people in your space - to actively be grateful is very powerful,” she says.

Practise gratitude

Hansa Pankhania also recommends being grateful for what you have, instead of what you do not.

And Natasha Page recommends keeping a gratitude diary, where you write down three things you are grateful for every day.

She adds: "These can be small things such as the sun shining, hearing your child laugh, a home-cooked meal, a cosy bed. Think about what are the things you do have and are grateful for."

Try some breathing and relaxation techniques

Take a five-second breath in through the nose, hold that breath for five seconds and then breathe out for five seconds. Do this five times, says Catherine Gallacher.

Melani Halacre recommends the STAR technique.

“Smile, take a (breath) and relax...breathing out longer than in to override fight and flight mechanism,” she says.

Cate Campbell also recommends trying mindfulness or relaxation apps, and practising deep breathing.

Write down your anxieties, and let them go

It can help to express this anxiety in a way that you can control. That could be writing down what you feel, or keeping a journal.

“Acknowledge that you feel this way. Don’t ignore these feelings,” says Elizabeth Turp.

“Allow yourself to worry, put it down in writing in a notebook, and then put that away. Let it go.”

Get access to natural light

Lockdown may have limited your trips to parks and for countryside walks, but it's still important to get access to natural light, says Rakhi Chand.

"Our exposure to natural light is limited at the moment, and this affects our serotonin and melatonin levels - both vital for our mental health.

Rakhi recommends sitting near windows and making home environments as light and airy as possible. "If you're lucky enough to have a a balcony or garden, use it regularly. 

She also says that certain foods - such as walnuts, almonds or bananas - can help boost melatonin, and salmon, eggs and spinach are among the foods that can help boost serotonin.

She also says it's worth looking into Vitamin D supplements, a light therapy lamp and limiting blue light from phones or screens as it disrupts circadian rhythm.

Look after your wellbeing

Make sure you are looking after yourself, doing what you can to help get a good night’s sleep, eating well and doing exercise, adds Catherine Gallacher.

“I always talk to my clients about a wellbeing check. Sleeping, eating, exercising. If we manage our health like this, it can help make us more robust against anxiety.”

Running either on the spot, or outside, releases endorphins and fools the brain and body that they’ve run away from the danger, says Cate Campbell.

Use all your senses

One of the self-care tips recommended by Eve Menezes Cunningham is to use all your senses to notice where you are.

You might want to notice five things you can see right now, five things you can hear right now, says Eve, or any smells or tastes.

“These can help us resist the well-worn neural pathways around catastrophising and feeling helpless.”

There are more of Eve’s self-care tips available to read here.

No expectations, no pressure

Sarah Wheatley, who specialises in helping new parents, says that she often discusses with her clients, how “when we live in extraordinary times, all bets are off.”

“Since expectations can be one of the things that are difficult to manage as a new parent, when there are no expectations it can be really freeing and allow people time to find their way without any pressure.

“The pressure to get back into shape, the pressure to socialise, the pressure to feed certain ways, the pressure to feel calm and relaxed, the pressure to look as though you have it ‘all together’. These pressures are reduced by physical isolation, and can be helpful to some mothers.”

Positive thinking

At times, this may feel very difficult to do depending on your personal situation. But re-framing a negative situation into a positive one can be very helpful.

Indira Chima says: “I believe there are a lot of positives to be gained, which might not be apparent right now. It forces people to slow down and breathe and take stock and that is always a good thing.  

“We live at such a fast, frenetic pace and sometimes don't stop to think about what it's all about and where we are heading.  This is forcing us to do that.  And we will grow as a result of this.”

Ask for support

“It’s not a sign of weakness, but strength to reach out and ask for support,” says Hansa Pankhania

“Make a list of everyone you know, friends, family, colleagues, neighbours etc. Now tick 9 people from this list, who can provide practical, psychological and moral support.  Connect with them and sustain this support circle.”

If you would like support from a qualified professional, many counsellors offer online or telephone counselling. They can help you explore and understand what you're feeling.

To find a counsellor or psychotherapist who can help you visit our Therapist Directory.

"You are out, in breach of regulations," he says.

"I'm in total compliance, I'm out once a day exercising mentally, that's what the regulations say," she adds.

She then says she's going shopping later and will go after sunset on her way home.

And she makes the officer read out the restrictions being enforced during the pandemic, before inquiring whether they are an act of parliament or just a bill.

The police officer points out that the woman is also smoking and drinking, which she accepts.

"I won't accept a fixed penalty notice. Place me under arrest and take me to the station," she adds before saying she will not be giving her address.

The police officer displayed great patience in engaging with the woman

The officer gives her every opportunity to just go home, continually asking her if there is a lawful reason why she is out.

"I want to stay here for sunset," she says.

"It's very low in the sky. I am going to go home after the sunset. I'm not going to sit here all night long."

She then starts spouting on about English Common Law, saying her behaviour is not prohibited.

The clip has had 4,000 views on YouTube alone.

The woman wrote under her video: "I was out exercising in Richmond today, on my own, the LAW doesn't specify physical exercise, I was exercising mentally meditating by the river, minding my own business, and these lovely police officers thought I was committing a crime!

"Eventually, they arrested me and actually gave me a lift home which I thought was nice, I will now get a fixed penalty notice which naturally I will contest in court.

"Let's see. Four police officers in the van which dropped me home! I said, 'this is the closest I've been to another human being all day!' Let alone four of them confined in a van! Anyway, BRING IT ON!"

But she was condemned by viewers online.

One posted: "You are awful and purposely arguing and wasting police time.

"I hope we get full lockdown and you have to stay in your own four walls that are most likely paid by the taxpayer."

Another said: "Spoilt little entitled brat!"

Many social media users have left their views on the clip as comments online

One woman posted: "You sound so smug it's horrible to hear. People like you are the worst."

And another said: "Really disgusting behaviour! Imagine if everyone acted like this woman!

"There's no one around her because other people are being responsible and are quarantined!

"The police are out there risking their lives to save our lives and this entitled, rude and ignorant woman wants to watch the sunset! Ffs."

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And one said: "Does anyone really think this lady was sat there minding her own business?

"She got exactly what she wanted with her little protest. Hero boys in blue with patience of saints having their time wasted."

Met Police has been contacted for comment.