Current situation like the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, can be scary and can affect our mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our well-being during such uncertain times.
We are told by our government to stay at home and only go outside if it’s essential like getting food, health reasons or work, and to stay two metres (six feet) away from other people and wash our hands as soon as possible.
Which will mean that more of us will be spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities will no longer be available to us.
Here are some tips we hope will help you, your friends and your family to look after your mental health at a time when there is much discussion of potential threats to our physical health.
1. Seek out reliable information
There is an abundance of information out there and not all of it is true and reliable. Seek out trusted source of information like government health websites and social media pages such as State health pages and websites. The media loves to flare up a disaster, don’t allow the scaremongering to frighten you.
2. Talk to your family and friends
If you need to stay at home because you have or you think you have the virus, don’t let yourself be completely isolated, talk to your friends and family outside of your home. It is very easy to become anxious and lonely when you have to be by yourself, but always remember to reach out.
3. Plan your day
As we are all adjusting to the new and rather different ways of life. This can be a risk to our mental health. You might want to stay in Pyjamas all day however, having a regular routine is vital for our purpose, confidence and identity. Try set a routine for everything you do on a daily basis and try to keep your usual activity around the same time every day.
4. Move more every day
It is very important to stay active. It reduces stress, increases energy levels, can make us more alert and improve our sleep. Find different ways to move every day, consider going out for a run or walk to get some fresh air. If you cannot go out, there are heaps of other activities that you can do at home. You can visit Black Dog Institute to learn more about home exercises.
5. Try a relaxation technique
Sometimes all you need is relax. Try different techniques of relaxation such as meditation and deep breathing or even just sitting in a quiet place by yourself for 10 minutes. Relaxing and focusing on the present can improve our mental health and lighten our negative feelings.
6. Improve your sleep
Having a feeling of uncertainty and sudden change in daily life can cause difficulty sleeping. You should aim to have a bedtime routine and even on the weekends consider waking up a set time to keep your body clock regulated which can help you sleep better. Try not to use your phone, tablet, computer or TV at least I hour before bedtime to wind down.
7. Take some time off social media and media in general
Social media is important to stay in touch with family and friends and to stay up to date with the current situation but remember to give yourself a break from all the negativity and news that is out there. It can be extremely overwhelming and can cause you distress. Aim to not use social media as least for some hours every day and read a book or magazine instead.
Useful links to get more help:
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ (Beyond Blue)
https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/ (Black Dog Institute)
https://www.mindaustralia.org.au/ (Minds Australia)
https://www.sane.org/ (Sane Australia)