Mental wellbeing — coronavirus (COVID-19)
Everyone can take action to protect and maintain emotional and physical wellbeing. We can take early steps for our mental health and wellbeing or to get help from others. This will reduce the chances of ongoing mental or physical health issues.
Looking after your mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic
1. Make time for you
There are six different mental wellbeing areas. Each has a different focus and helps you respond to the range of mental tasks you face every day.
Visit the Dear Mind website for simple ways you can improve your mental wellbeing.
- Get healthy - be active, eat well and get enough sleep
- Keep learning - challenge your mind and seek out new things
- Show kindness - give back, show gratitude and bring joy to others’ lives
- Connect more - develop relationships, stay connected and care for each other
- Take notice - be mindful. Stay in the moment. Experience the world around you.
- Embrace nature - step outside, connect with the natural world and take care of the planet. Even time in your own yard or balcony, or a walk around the block makes a difference.
2. Keep perspective
When a crisis occurs, everyone has a role to play in achieving the best possible outcomes. Consider what is within your control and what is not and focus on what you can do to contribute in a positive way to those around you.
3. Stay connected
Staying connected to family, friends and colleagues is important. They are your support network and can help you through challenging times by helping reduce the feeling of isolation.
Social connection and interaction are very important for maintaining our mental wellbeing. Communication channels such as text, email, video calls and chat can be very helpful in staying connected.
Remember to check in on other people, especially those who are living alone or may be more vulnerable to health issues.
4. Keep a routine and set daily goals
Routines play an important part in restoring a sense of purpose and normality to daily life:
- keep a routine going as long as you can (e.g. wake up at the same time each day and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at set times)
- incorporate normal activities such as exercise, walking the dog and reading a book
- schedule some things to look forward to into your day - spend time with your kids, catch your favourite TV show and connect with friends
- go to bed around the same time each night and get up around the same time each morning.
5. Switch off
Watching, hearing or talking about COVID-19 is everywhere. Turn off the news on the TV, radio or online and take a break from social media to help clear your head and give you space to think about less stressful things.
Set news limits
If you feel preoccupied by the news, consider setting yourself reasonable limits:
- start your day by reading a book or going for a walk rather than checking the news or your social media feed
- avoid checking the news before going to bed, especially on your phone or TV
- set a limit on how many times you check the news each day and how long you spend reading about the issue
- turn off notifications or download an app that helps you limit social media use.
Conversations often revolve around current events, but it’s okay to not want to talk about it all the time. Make sure you’re not bottling up your feelings or concerns and seek support when you need it.
Read good news stories too
If you’re checking for updates, try to read a good news story as well. Positive news doesn’t diminish a crisis, but it can help give us a sense of balance and support our mental wellbeing.
6. Look after your physical wellbeing
Taking good care of your body is one of the most important things you can do to improve your mental wellbeing.
Try to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet regularly. Drink plenty of water. Find a way to get physically active. Get healthy eating tips, recipes, home workouts and ideas to help you get active at home from Healthier. Happier.
Get plenty of sleep. Sleep affects your mood and ability to concentrate and can lead to anxiety and depression. Don’t worry if you’re finding it hard to nod off at first – sleep is often disrupted after a big change or event. Your sleep will return to normal with time.
7. Take some time out for things you enjoy
Even though times are difficult, you should take breaks and do something you enjoy. Taking time for you is important for your mental wellbeing.
Here are some ideas:
- do nothing at all
- do something that you enjoy
- read a book
- watch a movie or documentary on TV
- listen to a podcast
- meditate or learn to meditate
- chat with your family or friends about something totally unrelated
- play a board game or do a puzzle
- cook something new
- take up a new at-home hobby
- study or research something new
- have a nap
- take a nice long bath
- do some stretching or yoga
- do something creative
- make the space you live in more attractive, calmer and nicer to be in - declutter, re-arrange, decorate.
For more ideas and activities to improve your mental wellbeing, visit the Dear Mind website.
8. Limit your consumption of alcohol and other drugs
If you’ve noticed you’re drinking or using other drugs more than normal, you can get anonymous support 24/7 from Adis online or by calling 1800 177 833. Find out more about alcohol and other drugs and COVID-19.
9. Talk to someone when you feel ready
You may not want to talk about everything that is happening straight away. You may want to do nothing but talk about it. The most important thing is not to bottle up how you’re feeling.
When you feel ready, find someone to talk to about what has happened to you, how you feel about it, and any hopes or worries you have. It might come up naturally in conversation, or you might need to bring it up yourself.
10. Seek support when you need it
If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, worried, upset, angry or just not like your normal self, it’s time to tell someone. Stress and distress reactions are natural and can be expected but it is important to get support whenever your reactions seriously affect your ability to do your usual day-to-day activities.
You might start by talking to someone close to you such as a family member, friend or colleague. Talking to people outside your own social circle can help. Speaking to your GP or a mental health professional can help make sense of your thoughts, feelings and behaviour even if you don’t think you have a mental health condition.
You can look for a mental health support service in Queensland.
Beyond Blue's Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is now available 24/7 to support all Australians during this challenging time. Trained counsellors are available, as well as an online platform with forums and mental health resources.
If you think you might harm yourself or others, seek immediate help from a medical professional. If you think it’s an emergency or someone’s life is in danger, call Triple Zero (000) or head straight to the closest emergency department.
You can get further support from:
- Lifeline: visit the Lifeline website or call 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue: visit the Beyond Blue website or call 1300 22 4636
- Mental Health Commission: COVID-19 and mental health.