Coping with stress and anxiety during the Coronavirus outbreak
Many of us are experiencing a wide range of feelings and emotions since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
Everyone reacts differently in stressful situations and it’s completely normal to feel sad, stressed or anxious about the unknown. Identifying stress and anxiety is important for finding ways to cope and support others.
Strategies to cope with stress and anxiety.
1. Talk about how you’re feeling
Connect with friends and loved ones through phone calls, texting, video chats and email. Talking to people you trust will remind you that you are not alone and help you feel more at ease. Remember that services are available for additional support too:
- You may have access to an Employee Assistance Program provided by your employer
- Kids Helpline, phone 1800 55 1800
- Lifeline, 24hr counselling, phone 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service, phone 1300 659 467
- 1800 RESPECT, Domestic Violence support, phone 1800 737 732
2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Whatever your circumstances, working or not, in quarantine or not, make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Having proper sleep, diet, exercise, drinking water and doing activities you enjoy will keep your body healthy and your mind calm.
3. Watch your emotions
Don’t use smoking, alcohol or other drugs to deal with your emotions. These will only heighten your anxiety and stress. Similarly, try to keep your emotions in check when it comes to shopping. Stockpiling all the tinned food in the world won’t make you feel any better. If you are struggling with drug and alcohol use there are a number of services you can access:
- Australian Government Drug Help
- National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline: 1800 250 015
- Reach Out
- Alcohol and Drug Foundation service directory
- Look for a local Mission Australia service
4. Get the facts from reputable sources
The amount of information around COVID-19 can seem overwhelming. Make sure you get your information from reliable and reputable sources:
- Australian Government Department of Health
- ACT Department of Health
- NSW Department of Health
- NT Department of Health
- Qld Department of Health
- SA Health
- Vic Department of Health and Human Services
- Tas Department of Health
- WA Department of Health
5. Reduce time spent reading media coverage
Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. While we should stay up to date on the latest health advice, we need to recognise that hearing about the pandemic on the 24-hour news cycle can be upsetting, so it can be helpful to switch off for a while. Parents can also help manage their children’s anxiety by managing how much time they are spending on social media.
6. Look after others
Many of us saw the benefit of coming together and supporting each other during recent bushfires, floods and the ongoing drought. While COVID-19 places some restrictions on our ability to gather, those of us not in isolation can still be helping others. Many in our community will be doing it particularly tough now and need extra support. Check in on your neighbours. Support local businesses and those out of work. Share resources. Show the love!
7. Connect with your faith
When things are overwhelming us we can be comforted by God’s love and faithfulness through prayer. In this time of uncertainty we can pray for the safety of the wider community and for God’s peace to be among all Australians. You may like to access our prayers for difficult times, prepared by the Mission Australia chaplaincy team.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
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