Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

Beyond Blue recognises and understands the feelings of anxiety, distress and concern many people may be experiencing in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and offers the following wellbeing advice.

“As humans, we are hardwired to be afraid of the unknown and of something that appears random and uncontrollable. If you find yourself becoming anxious about coronavirus, try to remember that medical and scientific experts are following strict protocols to contain the virus and treat those affected.”

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 healthy 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.

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.

The Australian Psychological Society has advice about maintaining positive mental health during the outbreak.

https://www.psychology.org.au/About-Us/news-and-media/Media-releases/2020/Coronavirus-psychologists-offer-advice-for-mainta

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.

“Exposing yourself to a constant stream of negative information takes a huge psychological toll. Avoid reading social media posts that warn of an apocalypse and don’t get drawn into doomsday discussions. Sticking to the facts and relying on scientific sources for your information is the best way to maintain perspective and manage your feelings positively.”

Managing your mental health while in self-isolation or quarantine

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 outbreakhttps://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/staying-well/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 workspace.
  • Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing.

As the ongoing spread of the coronavirus continues to affect the global economy, many people in Australia are losing jobs, livelihoods and financial stability. For information and services provided by the Australian government, please visit Services Australia. https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/affected-coronavirus-covid-19

Seek support

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or stressed by news of the outbreak. We encourage people who have experienced mental health issues in the past to:

  • activate your support network
  • acknowledge feelings of distress
  • seek professional support early if you’re having difficulties.

For those already managing mental health issues, continue with your treatment plan and monitor for any new symptoms.

Social contact and maintaining routines can be supportive of our mental health and wellbeing. In circumstances where this is not possible, staying connected with friends and family online or by phone may assist. Beyond Blue also has a dedicated page on its forums about coping during the coronavirus outbreak.

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/staying-well/coping-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak

Acknowledge feelings of distress and seek further professional support if required.

Beyond Blue has fact sheets about anxiety  https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxietyand offers other practical advice and resources at beyondblue.org.au.

The Beyond Blue Support Service https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-supportoffers short term counselling and referrals by phone and webchat on 1300 22 4636.

By | 2020-04-22T13:49:46+10:00 March 20th, 2020|Health|Comments Off on Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak