The outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 has impacted people in varying ways on an international scale. It is understandable that during times like this, people may be feeling afraid, worried, and anxious and overwhelmed by the constantly changing alerts and media coverage regarding the spread of the virus.
While it is necessary to stay informed, the following are some mental health and wellbeing tips and strategies to continue looking after ourselves and each other during these difficult times.
Manage your exposure to media coverage as this can increase feelings of fear and anxiety. Be mindful of sources of information and ensure you are accessing good quality and exact information. We have provided some links below.
Follow a “calm yet cautious” approach – do you best to remain calm and be mindful not to contribute to the widespread panic that can hinder efforts to positively manage the outbreak. Ensure you are following directives issued by the government, medical advice and observe good hygiene habits.
Show compassion and kindness to one another – these times of fear, isolation (both physical and social) and uncertainty are when it is most essential that we strengthen our sense of community by connecting with and supporting each other. Remind ourselves that we can manage this much better together in solidarity, and that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate – it can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality or ethnicity.
Actively manage your wellbeing by maintaining routines where possible, connect with family and friends (even if not in person), staying physically active, eating nutritious foods and seeking additional support by contacting Lifeline or further professional support as required.
Many people with and without anxiety disorders are feeling anxious.
Because the virus is a virus you can’t see, and not enough people are being tested, you don’t know who carriers are, so you’re hypervigilant about other people and surfaces you’re touching and places you’re going, which makes you more anxious because there is real danger, but the uncertainty and lack of information about the virus reasons anxiety.
Engage in mindful awareness practices.
When we experience stress, we may find our minds “racing,” often with unhelpful thoughts. These thoughts can lead to more stress, catching us in quite a loop. Break the pattern—make a firm plan to practice mindfulness.
Sit quietly and allow the body to breathe deeply (full inhales in, full exhales out), then gently invite your mind to return from the races and join you in the present moment as you sit and breathe. Invite your mind back kindly as many times as needed. Repeat the practice daily for 10 to 15 minutes or more.
Create and maintain routine.
Schedule your time, take breaks, maintain a routine sleep schedule, take advantage of sleep hygiene techniques, and consider writing out your schedule then sharing with a friend or family member to increase accountability. The absence of your typical routine gives you an opportunity to develop a new routine.