Looking after your Mental Health during COVID-19

Posted on 3rd April 2020 by Ashley Dawson

We recognise and understand the feelings of anxiety, distress and concern many people may be experiencing in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the global pandemic continues and self-isolation is increasing, it is important that we understand the impact on our metal health. The government is allocating more than $1billion to a range of support services as it recognises the need to provide additional services at this time of crisis.

Here is some wellbeing advice and helpful resources that are available and we hope you find useful.

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 quickly as possible.

Find a health balance in relation to media coverage

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.

Access good quality information

It’s important to get accurate information from credible sources such as those listed below. This will also help you maintain perspective and feel more in control.

  • World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
  • Australian Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert

Try to maintain a practical and calm approach

Widespread panic can complicate efforts to manage the outbreak effectively. Do your best to stay calm and follow official advice, particularly around observing good hygiene habits.

Acknowledge your feelings, know that it’s okay to feel that way right now.

Keep things in perspective. In a situation that’s uncertain, it’s natural to have many ‘what if?’ questions in our minds. In the absence of information, our anxious mind will often fill in the blanks with worst case scenarios, which can leave us feeling overwhelmed, helpless, or vulnerable.

Symptoms of stress

Symptoms of stress in response to an infectious disease outbreak and the ramifications, health of yourself or others could include:

  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Obsessive thinking about the Coronavirus and it’s potential impact
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased use of alcohol or other drugs
  • Anxiety with physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, stomach upset, fatigue
  • Frustration, irritability or anger
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Feeling stressed or overwhelmed
  • Feeling disconnected from others
  • Feeling helpless

Taking care of yourself

It is important to

  • Take breaks from watching the news stories, particularly those shared on social media
  • Rely only on reputable sources to obtain current and up-to-date information on the outbreak.
  • Look after yourself physically – exercise regularly and eat a well-balanced diet
  • Ensure you are practicing good sleep hygiene
  • Unwind by doing activities you enjoy
  • Remain socially connected, especially during self-isolation, fortunately technology these days allows many different options to ‘face-time’ with friends and family
  • Find a buddy, or group of, to set daily challenges with. These could include a healthy habit, a mindful practice, a creative pursuit. Be sure to encourage and check in daily to stay motivated.
  • Set dates and times to watch the same TV shows/movies with someone and message each other your thoughts along the way… kind of like Goggle Box but you’re not sharing the couch!
  • Where possible, it can help to maintain normal routines

It is extremely important to seek out help if you feel you need it.

  • Lifeline 13 11 14 will continue to be operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Lifeline Text 0477 13 11 14 will continue to operate 6pm – midnight (AEDT), 7 nights a week
  • Lifeline webchat will continue to operate 7pm – midnight (AEDT), 7 nights a week
  • Kids Helpline – for children that may need support 1800 55 1800 https://kidshelpline.com.au
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636  https://beyondblue.org.au

Mobile apps

  • Smiling Mind – free mindfulness meditation app to help you look after your mental health and manage stress and daily challenges.
  • Headspace – free “Weathering the Storm” program available to help support the global community through this time including a curated list of calming meditations, help with sleep, and at-home workouts or movement exercises.

We are here to help

Trying to think of everything you need to do keep your team and customers safe and healthy right now as well as run your business is tough.

We will continue to keep you informed of all government stimulus and other measures and how they apply to your business and are here at any time of the day to give you advice on your business continuity plans and cashflow.

Please call us on (08) 9316 7000 if there is anything we can do to help you.

If you need us outside of work hours, please call one of our Directors:

Andrew Sullivan on 0407 680 698
Chris Grieve on 0417 967 539
Ashley Dawson on 0438 014 318

We are here for you and together we will all get through this.

We will all come out the other side with more resilience, more compassion and more empathy.  Until we do, please look out for each other.

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