Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
Beyond Blue recognizes and understands the feelings of anxiety, distress, and concern many people may be experiencing in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and offer the following wellbeing advice.
Try to maintain perspective
While it is reasonable for people to be concerned about the outbreak of coronavirus, try to remember that medical, scientific and public health experts around the world are working hard to contain the virus, treat those affected and develop a vaccine as rapidly as possible.
Being exposed to large volumes of negative information can heighten feelings of anxiety. While it’s important to stay informed, you may find it useful to limit your media intake if it is upsetting you or your family.
Try not to make assumptions
To contribute to a sense of community wellbeing, try to remember that the coronavirus can affect anyone regardless of their nationality or ethnicity and remember that those with the disease have not done anything wrong.
There are a number of ways to support your mental health during periods of self-isolation or quarantine.
- Remind yourself that this is a temporary period of isolation to slow the spread of the virus.
- Remember that your effort is helping others in the community avoid contracting the virus.
- Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, video conferencing or telephone.
- Connect with others via the Beyond Blue forums thread: Coping during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
- Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods.
- Try to maintain physical activity.
- Establish routines as best possible and try to view this period as a new experience that can bring health benefits.
- For those working from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks and, if possible, establishing a dedicated work space.
- Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing.
Conversations with children and young people
Families and caregivers of children and young people should discuss news of the virus with those in their care in an open and honest way. Try to relate the facts without causing alarm, and in a way that is appropriate for their age and temperament. It is essential to listen to any questions they may have, to let them know that they are safe and that it’s normal to feel concerned. If the media or the news is getting too much for them, encourage them to limit their exposure.
Health care workers may feel extra stress during the COVID-19 outbreak. This is a normal response in these unprecedented circumstances. Such feelings are not a sign of weakness and it’s essential to acknowledge this. There are practical ways to manage your mental health during this time, including:
- getting enough rest during work hours and between shifts
- eating healthy foods and engaging in physical activity
- keeping in contact with colleagues, family and friends by phone or online
- being aware of where you can access mental health support at work
- If you’re a manager, trying to create mentally healthy work structures.