Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent declaration of a global pandemic has contributed to feelings of uncertainty and stress in the workplace. While it is completely normal to be feeling anxious in these unprecedented times, looking after your mental health at work and learning to cope with these feelings of unease is important.
The evolving nature of the coronavirus pandemic makes it difficult to take care of your mental health in the workplace. Mental health organisations have provided resources to help people cope with COVID-19 anxiety and below are some tips from Headspace, Beyond Blue, Lifeline and The Australian Psychological Society about how to look after your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.
Maintain perspective and be assured that health professionals and Government agencies worldwide are working hard to treat those affected and find a vaccine. It may also be comforting to remember that the number of cases of coronavirus in Australia are still relatively low and that most people have only experienced mild symptoms and have recovered well.
Stay in Contact
Social distancing and isolation can be lonely and stressful so make sure you stay in regular contact with your friends and family. Find creative ways to stay in touch and lean on them for support and reassurance during this time.
Limit the Coronavirus Coverage You Consume
In a 24 hour news cycle it is easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of differing information and opinions being presented to you, especially with the ever changing nature of this pandemic. Try to limit the amount of coverage you are consuming, in the form of traditional news as well as social media.
Choose a Reliable Source & Keep Informed
Find a credible news source that provides reliable, accurate information. Keep up to date with new developments so that you know what is happening and what you should be doing. Only follow information that is provided to you by reputable news sources. The World Health Organisation and Department of Health as well as statements from elected officials are a good source of reliable information.
Practice Self-Care & Remain Calm
Try to remain calm and not give into increasing feelings of panic. Participate in activities that make you feel physically and emotionally safe, try relaxation techniques like meditation or mindfulness and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes drinking water, getting exercise, eating healthy and getting enough sleep. Continue to engage in your hobbies, if it is safe to do so, or find something new that makes you happy and distracts you from feeling anxious.
Take Reasonable Precautions
Do your best to follow directives and practice good hygiene and social distancing when in the workplace and in public. Be comforted by the fact that you are doing everything you reasonably can to avoid contracting or transmitting the virus.
Feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, confusion, sadness and denial are normal. However, if you feel like you cannot cope with these feelings on your own please seek professional help. The Australian Psychological Society, Beyond Blue, Lifeline and Headspace offer more information about dealing with these intense emotions on their respective websites listed below and offer professional counselling via phone or webchat.