As the coronavirus pandemic rapidly sweeps across the world, it is inducing a considerable degree of fear, worry and concern in the population at large and among certain groups in particular, such as older adults, care providers and people with underlying health conditions.
In public mental health terms, the main psychological impact to date is elevated rates of stress or anxiety. But as new measures and impacts are introduced – especially quarantine and its effects on many people’s usual activities, routines or livelihoods – levels of loneliness, depression, harmful alcohol and drug use, and self-harm or suicidal behaviour are also expected to rise.
If you are not feeling yourself here are some strategies to assist you:
Pause. Breathe. Reflect.
Take some slow breaths: in through your nose, then slowly breathe out. Slow breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress, because it signals to your brain to relax your body. Notice how you are feeling and what you are thinking, without judgment. Instead of responding or reacting to those thoughts or feelings, note them, and then let them go.
Connect with others
Talking to people you trust can help. Keep in regular contact with people close to you. Tell them how you are feeling and share any concerns.
Keep to a healthy routine
Get up and go to bed at similar times every day.
Keep up with personal hygiene.
Eat healthy meals at regular times.
Exercise regularly. Just doing 3-4 minutes of light intensity physical movement, such as walking or stretching, will help.
Allocate time for working and time for resting.
Make time for doing things you enjoy.
Take regular breaks from on-screen activities.
Don’t use alcohol and drugs as a way of dealing with fear, anxiety, boredom and social isolation
Be kind to yourself and others
Don’t expect too much of yourself on difficult days. Accept that some days you may be more productive than others. Try to reduce how much you watch, read or listen to news that makes you feel anxious or distressed. Seek the latest information from trusted sources at specific times of the day. Helping others can be good for you too. If you are able to, offer support to people in your community who may need it.
Most importantly, if you are not coping or need someone to talk to please reach out, there are a range of free supports available to you to help you get through including:
Beyond Blue Phone-based counseling 1300 22 4636
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 059 467
Lifeline 13 11 14
Online chat counseling can also be located here:
Stay Safe Guys - It will be over soon.