During the COVID-19 health pandemic, employees may be required or encouraged to work from home, and some may also need to self-isolate. The levels of uncertainty mixed with new working environments means individuals mental health and wellbeing could be impacted.
Now more than ever, we all must take care of our mental health and wellbeing. As we protect ourselves against potential exposure to COVID-19 by social distancing, it is important we keep social connections.
Here are some practical tips and resources to help you cope with any anxiety and stress you may experience during this time. Taking care your mental health and wellbeing is a priority.
Table of contents
- Get the facts: gather information from reliable sources to help you determine your own risk of contracting COVID-19 so you can take reasonable precautions. Find credible sources you can trust such as Queensland Health or the Unite against COVID-19 and fact check information that you get from newsfeeds, social media or other people.
- Manage your news intake: follow news coverage about COVID-19 in moderation. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly.
- Stay connected and talk about your concerns: talk to your colleagues, managers, family or friends about your feelings and concerns. Think about how you can stay in touch by phone, video calls or social media instead of meeting in person. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that contact your agency’s employee assistance program provider, other counselling supports or you could find support groups online to connect with.
- Help and support others: show support and empathy to those dealing with difficult situations. Think about how you could help those around you – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too.
- Make time for you: discover the building blocks to a better you (Dear Mind).
- Manage your work and workload: at times working from home can create additional pressures either through increased workloads or a feeling like your work is less meaningful. Talk to your manager and discuss your work and workload so you strike the right balance for your motivation and engagement.
- Seek flexible options: for parents caring for the young or elderly, finding the flexibility you need to support yourself and others may rely on more flexible work options. Talk with your manager so you can find a workable solution.
- Take care of your body: your physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.
- Set a new daily routine: whether you are working from home or in the office, social distancing is affecting your normal routine. Think about how you can adapt and create new routines, including riding a bike, cooking, reading or calling a friend.
- Set goals: by setting goals and achieving them can give you a sense of control and purpose. Think about things you want or need to do that you can still do at home. It could be gardening, decluttering your cupboards or learning something online.
- Do things you enjoy: if you are feeling anxious, lonely or low you may do things that you usually enjoy less often, or not at all. Focusing on your favourite hobby, reading a book or simply taking time to relax indoors should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can boost your mood.
- Engage with creativity: paint, draw, read, write, play games or do puzzles. Find something that works for you.
- Get outside: if you can get outside once a day even to go for a bike ride or a walk around your block. Remember that social distancing guidelines enable you to go outside to exercise once a day as long as you keep 1.5 metres apart from others who are not members of your household.
Visit Beyond Blue for more practical tips and strategies on managing daily life during the COVID-19 health pandemic.
Employee assistance programs (EAP) provide free, professional and confidential counselling services to assist you and your immediate family members through both personal and work-related problems.
If you would like counselling supports beyond your agency’s EAP service, some possible options are:
- 1300 MH CALL: Mental health access line (1300 642 255): a confidential mental health telephone triage service that provides the first point of contact to public mental health services to Queenslanders.
- Beyond Blue coronavirus mental wellbeing support service (1800 512 348): a dedicated phone line that is staffed by mental health professionals trained on the pandemic response.
- Lifeline (13 11 14): find out what support options you can access through the health pandemic.
If you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood, there are other support options available to you, including:
- Health and wellbeing for Queensland public sector employees: find out what other support options and resources you can access that are linked to your physical, psychological, financial and social wellbeing.
- Queensland Mental Health Commission provides tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety, toolkits for health headspace and more.
- Head to Health provides trusted information and digital supports to help maintain good mental health, how to access mental health services, information for parents and more.
- Queensland Health provides tips to look after your mental health while staying informed during a crisis.
- Queensland Health (Dear Mind campaign) provides six building blocks to build strong mental wellbeing and improve your overall mental resilience.
- Life in Mind provides a comprehensive list of resources to support people affected by the pandemic.
- Black Dog Institute has resources to help manage anxiety, stress and wellbeing during the pandemic.
- Reachout.com offers tips on how to take care of yourself during the pandemic.
- COVID-19 and mental health: hear from Commissioner Ivan Frkovic speaking on the likely mental health impacts of the COVID-19 health pandemic, looking at what we know about the mental health effects of natural disasters and how this pandemic may differ.
- COVID-19 – Thriving during uncertainty: hear from Clinical Psychologist Dr Kylie Henderson who provides tips and strategies for the general community about dealing with uncertainty. this is part of the Queensland Mental Health Commission's ongoing COVID-19 response.
- COVID-19 – Leading in crisis: hear from ConNetica Director Marion Wands who shares her advice, insights and ideas for leaders and service providers on how to communicate clearly and with purpose to address workforce and client concerns around COVID-19.