Looking after your mental health during COVID-19

With all the uncertainly around coronavirus (COVID-19), many people may experience a range of emotions including stress, anxiety or a feeling of being overwhelmed.

These feelings are normal to the current situation and are protective mechanisms that we’ve developed to help us keep ourselves and others safe.

Our bodies are not designed to deal with increased anxiety and fear for long periods of time so it is important to look after yourself and those around you.

Here are some tips to help you reduce stress brought on by COVID-19 and maintain your mental health.

Yes, it may be important to stay informed through reading the news online, watching TV or trawling social media, but too much can be overwhelming… and with so many sources, conflicting information can actually add to your confusion and anxiety.

Try to limit the amount of news you read and ensure you get up to date with information from reliable COVID-19 sources Like: KEEP PERSPECTIVE
Increased feelings of anxiety can make us start thinking things are worse than they are.  Scientists, politicians, medical and public health experts are working to limit the spread of the virus and develop a vaccine.

Rather than thinking or assuming the worst-case scenario:
  • Remind yourself that strategies have been put in place to minimise the impact of COVID-19
  • Illness due to COVID-19 infection is often mild and most people recover without specialised treatment.
  • Sometimes thinking about how you would cope, even if the worst were to happen, can help you put things into perspective. You’re more resilient than you think you are.
Ensure that you follow basic hygiene principles to protect yourself against the virus. This will also help you regain a feeling of being in control and reduce anxiety.

It is recommended that you:
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and with alcohol-rub between washes.
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Practice social distancing by staying at home
  • Seek medical attention if you have a fever, cough or experience breathing difficulties.
It is important to encourage a positive mindset and look after yourself. Some examples of practicing self-care include:
  • Maintaining good social connections and communication with family and friends.
  • Make time for hobbies or activities you enjoy.
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. Make sure you have quality sleep and avoid using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs to deal with stress.
  • Practice relaxation, meditation and mindfulness to give your body an opportunity to calm.
There are a number of organisations you can contact should you need support or if you are looking for more information. It is important you contact your GP to receive medical support if you are not handling your anxieties around COVID-19.
Contributed by: Mental Health Council of Tasmania

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