The uncertainty bought into our lives by the COVID-19 outbreak can be incredibly unsettling. Here are some tips to help.
It’s normal to feel anxious, upset and unsettled as we face an uncertain period of time working from home and social distancing.
Indefinite isolation and reading endless news stories about COVID-19 can cause information overload, which can be a recipe for anxiety and depression.
Those working from home for the first time or trying to home-school children can be particularly tough.
Many of us are missing out on something right now. Whether it’s our social life, an overseas holiday or a weekly catch-up with friends – these are plans that have been taken away from us for the foreseeable future.
It’s rough on all of us. While we can’t control what’s happening in the world right now, but we might be able to control how we deal with this uncertain period.
There are ways to help yourself manage this period of time in your life.
What is self-care
Self-care helps prevent stress and anxiety. In fact, taking part in activities and practices that we deliberately choose to engage in on a regular basis will improve our health and wellbeing, The Black Dog Institute explains.
The site has a long list of resources for people to identify positive coping strategies during COVID-19 here.
The experts agree that a little self-care can go a long way right now, so making sure you make it part of your daily life is crucial right now. This can help you to focus, make decisions and stay healthy.
Simple activities such as going for a walk or having a chat with friends will give your body and mind time to rest, reset and rejuvenate so that you can reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
When you take time for yourself and give your body the food, rest and activity it needs, you will actually have more energy to meet the demands of daily life, the Institute’s fact-sheet on self-care during COVID-19 explains.
Strategies for you
Understanding what self-care strategies work for you is crucial in your self-care plan. Some positive coping strategies could include:
- Deep breathing
- Listening to music
- Cooking or baking
- Declutter the house
- Speaking to a friend
- Reading a good book
- Engaging in a hobby
- Spending quality time with family
- Going for a walk
Here’s a handy checklist of ways you can manage your mental health while in self-isolation or quarantine:
- Remind yourself that this is a temporary period of isolation to slow the spread of the virus.
- Remember that your effort is helping others in the community avoid contracting the virus.
- Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, video conferencing or telephone. · Connect with others via the Beyond Blue forums thread, Coping during the coronavirus outbreak. Connecting with others can help.
- Engage in health activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
- Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods.
- Try to maintain physical activity.
- Establish routines and try to view this period as a new experience that can bring health benefits.
- For those working from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks, and if possible, establish a dedicated work space.
- Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing.
Source: Beyond Blue
Beyond Blue encourages people who have experienced mental health issues in the past to reach out to their support network, acknowledge feelings of distress and seek professional support if you’re having difficulties.
And if you’re already managing mental health issues, make sure you keep up with your treatment plan and monitor any new symptoms.
Mental Health Navigator
MLC Life Insurance customers have access to the Mental Health Navigator service from Best Doctors, which empowers and supports you with a review of your diagnosis and treatment plan.
It can connect you with specialists from its network of leading Australian-based clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, all from the comfort of your own home.
The Mental Health Navigator service offers a discreet, quick and confidential way to seek help if you or a family member is experiencing a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety.
How it works
One call: It starts with one call to speak to a member of the Best Doctors team in Australia. You will then be connected with the dedicated Mental Health Nurse.
Initial assessment: The Nurse can help you find a local specialist, access useful resources or assist in answering questions on your condition. They can also coordinate an expert review of your diagnosis and treatment plan.
Recommendations: After an in-depth assessment, you will be provided with a report detailing the review of your diagnosis and recommendations for treatment
Next steps: The Mental Health Nurse will call you to discuss the report findings, and, with your consent, the report will be shared with your treating doctor, who can coordinate a treatment plan. This can now include mental health treatment by telehealth, covered by Medicare. The Nurse is available for up to six months to provide further navigational support if needed.
How: To use this service, call the Best Doctors Hotline on 1800 186 088 Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm (Sydney/Melbourne time)
If you need to talk to someone during this time, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, 24 hours a day
*Best Doctors is available to MLC Life Insurance customers as well as their immediate families including children, parents, partner and partner’s parents
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