How to Look After Your Mental Wellbeing During COVID-19


Are you feeling a bit off or downright anxious because of COVID-19? If so, you’re not alone.

The coronavirus outbreak has people in Australia and all over the world experiencing all kinds of emotions – from a little concern to utter distress.

Some of us are worried about our physical health. Others are missing their loved ones who live interstate. Some might be dealing with financial stress after losing their job. COVID-19 is impacting every one of us in one way or another.

We hope these tips help you take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing during these strange and uncertain times.

 

Stay Connected

Social distancing and self-isolation are important measures to help prevent the spread of the virus. But it’s important to stay in touch with our friends and family to avoid loneliness and withdrawal.

Research shows loneliness is as bad for us as smoking 15 cigarettes per day, and it can increase the risk of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Staying connected with others is a basic human need, and it’s more important than ever to maintain those human connections and lean on our support networks.

Here are a few ways to keep in touch with your loved ones while apart:

  • Text – Send a text or funny meme to let them know you’re thinking of them.
  • Call – Pick up the phone and enjoy hearing their voice and laughter for real.
  • Video Call – We’re all getting pretty good at Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime by now, right?
  • Group Chat – Keep conversations organised by group with Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
  • Online Groups – Beyond Blue has a dedicated public forum for coping during COVID-19.
  • Letter – Handwritten letters have a personal touch and make for a nice surprise in the mail.
  • Apps – Compete from afar with gaming apps like Draw Something and Words with Friends.

 

Focus on Health and Self-Care

We’re following directions to wash our hands thoroughly and keep 1.5m distance to reduce the risk of infection, but we need to look after our overall health in other ways, too.

Try not to let the stress of COVID-19 disrupt your healthy habits and routines. Focus on lifestyle factors that can impact your physical and mental health, like eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and moving your body every day. You might also like to try relaxation techniques like meditation, stretching, journaling, and walking outside.

Many studies show the benefits of nature for stress and anxiety, so if you’re spending all your time inside, venture outside for some fresh air (if your state permits it).

 

Take Breaks from the Media

In the age of the internet, we’re being bombarded with information and fake news everywhere we click. While it’s good to be up to date on what’s happening in your area and the world, it’s important to find a balance between staying informed and being overwhelmed.

Avoid overexposure by limiting your check-ins, and try not to read or watch the news right before you go to bed. If you read fake news that fuels your fear, don’t add to the problem by sharing it on social media. This can spread misinformation and cause unnecessary panic in a time that’s already difficult.

 

Stay Updated with Accurate Information

Having an understanding of COVID-19 can help reduce some of the fear surrounding it. If you want to stay in the know and avoid alarmist misinformation, stay updated with credible, trustworthy sources such as:

 

Control what you Can

There’s a lot that’s out of our control right now. Instead of dwelling on the answers we don’t have and the things we can’t control, we should be focusing on the things we can.

Establishing daily routines can bring comforting structure to our lives, so create a new ‘normal’ to give yourself a sense of control during the chaos.

You might like to start the day with a coffee on your patio and end the day with some stretches. However you spend your days and weeks, these routines can help us feel grounded and in control.

 

Protect Yourself Online

If you’re using the internet and social media to keep in touch, it’s important to make sure you’re being safe online. Technology can be risky – particularly for survivors of domestic and family abuse.

You can protect your online presence by:

  • Putting a strong passcode on your device/s
  • Updating your passwords on all accounts
  • Ensuring all your social media accounts are set to ‘private’
  • Being careful when accepting new friend requests
  • Turning off your GPS and/or location settings on your device/s, and not checking in anywhere on your social media accounts.

The Women’s Legal Service QLD offers more helpful tips to stay safe online here.

 

Get Support

There’s no shame in seeking help if you’re struggling. We’re all in this together, and chances are some of the people you know are having a hard time, too. It can help to talk to the people you trust about how you’ve been feeling.

If you need additional support, there is professional help available.

Relationships Australia Queensland provides confidential counselling and support services to help you manage your stress and anxiety.

If you’re experiencing domestic and family violence, we welcome you to access our confidential counselling and support services. You can call 1300 139 703 to make an appointment, or talk to someone online with our live chat, available Mon-Sat 9am-5pm.

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800

If you or your children are in immediate danger, please call 000