Taking care of your mental health during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis

22 April 2020

While we’re all focused on staying physically healthy right now, this is not the time to neglect your mental health and wellbeing. It’s natural to feel worried about the impact of COVID-19, and social distancing and self-isolation can make things particularly challenging. But you can get through this time and stay positive by prioritising your mental health. Below we’ve shared some tips on the best ways to practice self care, lean on your support network, and reach out for extra help if you need it.

Stay informed

Keeping up-to-date with the latest news and rules around COVID-19 is important. It’s equally important to make sure you’re getting that information from trustworthy sources and not relying on hearsay, rumour or simply someone’s opinion. Ensuring that you’re armed with knowledge and understand what’s happening may help you feel positive and in control.

Government websites are a great place to find the latest COVID-19 facts and figures, as well as reliable advice on what you should and shouldn’t be doing to keep yourself and others safe during the crisis. This is a great place to start.

Know when to digitally disconnect

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed sometimes by the sheer volume of news and information about COVID-19 every time you turn on the TV or scroll your social media feeds. It’s crucial to recognise this feeling when it surfaces, and act on it by turning off the TV, closing your laptop or putting down your smartphone.

Use your mini digital detox as an opportunity to clear your head and focus on something fun or constructive as a healthy distraction. Try going for a walk, reading a book or calling a friend.

Implement a routine

Setting up a daily routine for your time during self-isolation can help give your days a sense of purpose. Schedule specific blocks of time for each activity you want to do, and try to include a good mix of fun activities and productive tasks that will give you a feeling of accomplishment. Here are some ideas of what to include in your routine:

  • Working or studying from home
  • Cooking, cleaning or organising your space
  • Getting on top of life admin like paying bills or cleaning out your email inbox
  • Learning a new skill such as a musical instrument
  • Flexing your creativity with writing, art, craft, music or dance
  • Exercise – see below

Allianz Global Assistance Overseas Health - yoga_at_home

Get moving

There are plenty of reasons to eat well and exercise – not just for your body, but also for your mind. Regular exercise is proven to reduce stress and boost your mood. But social distancing rules may make some of your favourite ways to stay fit difficult or impossible. Rather than giving up on exercise altogether, find ways to fit movement into your day. More and more fitness professionals are making workout and yoga videos available on YouTube or via live stream so you can reap the benefits of a motivating personal trainer or yoga teacher from the comfort of your own home.

Stay in touch

Maintaining strong links with your support network is vital during times of additional stress. Don’t underestimate the power of chatting, laughing or even crying with someone who understands.

As a visitor to Australia, you might already be one step ahead when it comes to finding creative ways to stay in touch with friends and family back home. Just because you can’t see them in person doesn’t mean you need to miss out on that much-needed contact with your nearest and dearest. Make a commitment to keeping in touch via regular FaceTime, WeChat or WhatsApp video calls.

And as for the new friends you’ve made in Australia, all is not lost! Social distancing doesn’t need to mean no social life. Take the initiative and set up virtual coffee dates, afternoon drinks, or even dance parties with your mates using Zoom or another video conferencing app.

Allianz Global Assistance Overseas Health - talking_to_friend_on_phone

Ask for help

Speak up if you are struggling mentally during this time – there’s nothing weak about admitting you need help. There are so many great mental health resources and support services available in Australia that there is absolutely no reason to suffer alone.

  • Local doctor/GP – you can speak to a qualified local doctor about anything that’s bothering you. You can find a local doctor Find a Doctor or you can access via Allianz Global Assistance’s telehealth service powered by Doctor o Demand*
  • Beyond Blue – if you’re feeling anxious or depressed you can call 1300 22 4636 for free 24/7 counselling with a mental health professional
  • Lifeline – call 13 11 14 for 24-hour crisis counselling, support groups and suicide prevention
  • For urgent help, phone 000 and ask for an ambulance

*GP visits and telehealth service not covered by AGA OVHC Budget Working and OVHC Budget Visitors policies. For details visit telehealth service. For information about your policy visit Policy Wording Documents. 

References