Times are tough for everyone as we adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s restrictions and impact on our daily living. As the Government start to ease these restrictions, it’s important not to become complacent or oblivious as each friend, employee, colleague and loved one responds to these circumstances in a different way. At Novaskill, we have a strong focus and commitment towards the mental health of our staff, students and clients and our team hold this topic close to our hearts.
For people living with (and without) mental health, times like this can be particularly challenging, which is why we encourage everyone to join us in staying connected via social media and contact the appropriate support services if they are struggling or simply want to reach out to someone. #InThisTogether is a campaign launched by SANE Australia and is “a national conversation, sharing tips to support our mental health and wellbeing through COVID-19”.
Here are the top 5 tips on how you can manage your mental health and wellbeing and look after yourself and others during this time. These tips courtesy of Lifeline and SANE Australia are designed to support, not replace, the relationship between members of the community and existing health care professionals.
1. Access the right 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.
- Australian Government coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert
- Health Direct – Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- smartraveller.gov.au – travel information for Australian citizens
- World Health Organization – coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
2. Limit social media coverage
Being exposed to large volumes of negative information can heighten feelings of anxiety. Relying on news from mainstream media or social media, which may sensationalise or exaggerate issues, can further increase our stress and anxiety. Be mindful of sources of information and ensure you are accessing good quality and accurate information.
3. Strategies to cope with self-isolation and quarantine
Going into a period of social distancing, self-isolation or quarantine may feel daunting or overwhelming, and can contribute to feelings of helplessness and fear. You can help this in a number of ways:
- 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.
- Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
- Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods.
- Try to maintain physical activity.
- Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing.
4. Keep calm and positive
- Don’t underestimate the power you have to offer hope to another person.
- 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.
- Ensure you are following directives issued by the government, medical advice and observe good hygiene habits.
- 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.
- Remember, our thoughts are not always true or helpful. Challenge your negative thoughts by asking yourself what a friend would say in the same situation, or ask yourself what evidence do you have that you ‘won’t cope or can’t cope’?
- Whenever you recognise a negative thought balance it with a realistic thought.
- Give yourself permission to switch off ‘noise’ such as social media, news, or even radio for most of each day.
5. Seek support
It is extremely important to seek out help if you feel you need it. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or stressed by news of the outbreak. We encourage people to use the following supports:
These times of isolation (both physical and social) and uncertainty are when it is most important that we strengthen our sense of community by connecting with and supporting each other. Remind ourselves that we can manage this much better together in solidarity, and that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate – it can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality or ethnicity.
We’re all #InThisTogether.
By Emma Meldrum, Senior HR & Safety Officer
Credit: Lifeline and SANE Australia