If you’re feeling anxious, sad, stressed, angry or confused, you’re not alone.  And it’s not just the threat of becoming ill from COVID-19 that we’re all dealing with.

With the first diagnosis of Coronavirus in Australia, it seems almost everything changed – how we work, how we play, how we relate to each other, even how we speak. Who could have guessed what ‘flattening the curve’ or ‘social distancing’ would mean a fortnight ago?

COVID-19 is bringing us new challenges daily, and the uncertainty it brings can take its toll. During times of crisis, it’s important to look after yourself and those around you.

The World Health Organisation and agencies such as Beyond Blue and Lifeline say there’s plenty you can do to help cope with this crisis. This is some of their advice.

Healthy basics

Good food, exercise, sleep and keeping in touch with others, electronically if face-to-face is not possible, is more important than ever.

Follow hand washing, social distancing and other health advice.

Keep doing what you usually enjoy, as much as possible.

Try to avoid using cigarettes, booze or other drugs to cope. Instead, talk to a friend, health worker or counsellor.

Support loved ones

Check in with friends and family regularly and encourage them to keep doing what they enjoy too. Share only reliable information with them and avoid rumours. Support those who are affected or have experienced the virus.

Stay informed

To properly prepare for the pandemic you need facts and up-to-date information. For the latest on the virus and health advice, access the World Health Organization or the Australian Department of Health.

You can also call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

Avoid rumours and information from unknown or questionable sources.

Limit media and social media

Media coverage and social media activity can heighten upset, agitation and worry. Reduce the time spent watching TV or jumping online if it’s upsetting you or those around you.

Do what you know works

If you’ve dealt with stressful situations before, using the tools you developed then will help get you through now.

Keep your kids close

For our children, this is the first they’ve experienced something of this magnitude – so its all unknown. Us helping them through this journey is crucial.

Children will respond in different ways to what’s going on – they may be abnormally emotional, or they may behave in ways that seem unusual for them. Kids will benefit from:

  • Love, attention and kindness
  • Routines and play
  • Being close to their families
  • Talking to them about the virus and what it might mean for them.

Get support

Friends and family can be a wonderful support, so do what you can to help each other out and acknowledge any distress. If you’re having difficulty coping, seek professional help.

In Australia, crisis support is available from these and other agencies:

  • Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 – short term counselling and referrals
  • LifeLine 13 11 44 – crisis support and suicide prevention
  • Employee Assistance Programs or your local GP – counselling and support