As a nation we are facing an extraordinary time – with many of us feeling unsettled and uncertain as we work together to stop the spread of COVID-19. While we are keeping physically distant, it is more important than ever that we remain socially and emotionally connected.
• The impacts of COVID are tough and it’s important to make your mental health a priority.
• Your mental wellbeing is as important as your physical health.
• We must do things that help us to cope and maintain good mental health.
• Life is challenging at the moment. You can cope better when you have some support and help. It is ok to ask for help and support is available.
TIPS FOR STAYING CALM AND HEALTHY
For your physical health, the most important thing you can do is maintain basic hygiene, particularly frequently washing your hands with soap or using hand sanitiser.
For your mental wellbeing, there are a number of things you can do:
• A healthy diet, exercise, and sleep regime
• Talk to loved ones about any worries and concerns
• Engage in hobbies and enjoyable activities at home
• Ensure you have enough food, supplies and medication on hand.
• Avoid or reduce your use of alcohol and tobacco
• Get reliable and trusted information.
• Set boundaries for yourself
• Limit your exposure to media
WHAT TO DO IF YOURE NOT COPING
Many people will not be able to catch up with friends and family members. These are often the people who will first notice any changes in your ability to cope. For now, you need to do those check-ins yourselves. If you take the steps above and notice that you are not coping, you can:
1. Make a self-care plan.
Make plan of action and enlist a supportive person to help you stick to it. Set some goals and write them down.
2. Do activities to help reduce your anxiety.
Try to do some physical activity or get some fresh air each day. Even an hour of exercise a week improves depression and anxiety. Try to do something that gives you a sense of pleasure and/or achievement each day. This could include eating a nice meal, reading a book, writing down your thoughts, joking with friends, listening to music, tidying up around home or work tasks. Notice when you are thinking in unhelpful ways. Ask yourself, ‘is there another, more helpful way I could think about this situation?’
3. Get professional help when you need it.
If you are feeling very anxious or sad for more than two weeks, it is time to get professional help. There are a range of free and low-cost online programs' that you can access from home and complete anonymously or with the support of a health professional.