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Dr Michelle Lim is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at Swinburne University and leads the Social Health and Wellbeing (SHAW) Laboratory.
Other videos in this series include:
Tips for staying calm and healthy
For your physical health, the most important thing you can do is maintain basic hygiene, particularly frequently washing your hands with soap or using hand sanitiser. For your mental wellbeing, there are a number of things you can do:
- Maintain a healthy diet, exercise and sleep regime.
- Keep the conversation going – talking to loved ones about any worries and concerns.
- Engage in hobbies and enjoyable activities at home.
- Be prepared – ensure you have enough food, supplies and medication on hand. Ask for help collecting these items if needed.
- Avoid or reduce your use of alcohol and tobacco.
- Get reliable and trusted information – make sure you receive information through trusted and credible sources, rather than social media. If you can’t access the internet, ask a friend or family member to get you the most up-to-date information from credible sources such as:
- The coronavirus (COVID-19) section on this site
- Australian Government coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert
- World Health Organization – coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
- Limit your exposure to media – you or a loved one may feel stressed listening to the news.
While it might feel like we don’t have control of current events, it's important to remember that we can do many things to feel empowered and enabled.
Find opportunities to share positive and hopeful stories with others, generate positive emotions by sharing memories, and show acts of kindness.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic highlights the importance of community and social connections in improving our health and wellbeing.
Connect with friends and family
- Staying connected with friends and family at this time can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. For example, regular phone or video calls.
- For older Australians, now might be the time to embrace technology. Younger family members can help you get set up and guide you through the process. Give it a go!
- If you are more comfortable with the phone, call friends and family for regular catch-ups. You could even write notes or letters.
Call for support
If you are feeling less connected as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) you can call the Coronavirus Hotline (1800 675 398) and press 3. You will be connected to a volunteer from the Australian Red Cross who can link you with local supports.
For those in self-isolation or quarantine
Going into self-isolation or quarantine may feel daunting or overwhelming. Fear and anxiety about the pandemic can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.
There are a number of ways to support your mental health during periods of self-isolation or quarantine:
- Remind yourself that isolation is temporary
- Focus on the effort you are making to protect others from contracting the virus.
- Stick to routines – although they sound dull, they're good for our mental health. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time, eat at regular times, shower and change your clothes. This will help you to manage your days and adjust when life starts to go back to normal.
- Try to maintain physical activity.
- Manage your stress levels, and if needed, increase your coping strategies (for example, listening to music, watching your favourite shows, meditation or exercise).
- If you have a health condition, keep taking any prescribed medication, continue with your treatment plan and monitor any new symptoms.
Seek professional support early if you're having difficulties.
Who to call for help
There are many support services available to if you or a loved one are feeling anxious or uncertain.
- Lifeline Australia Phone 13 11 14 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
A crisis support service offering immediate short-term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.
- Beyond Blue Phone 1800 512 348 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service.
- eheadspace 1800 650 893
Online and webchat support and counselling for 12-25 year olds, their family and friends.
headspace.org.au/eheadspace/ (9am -1am, 7 days a week)
- Phone 1300 096 269 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Online and phone counselling for people living, working, or studying in Melbourne's northern, central, and western suburbs. CareinMIND online counselling.
- MensLine Phone 1300 78 99 78 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Professional telephone and online support and information service for Australian men. MensLine online counselling.
- Mindspot Phone 1800 61 44 34 (8am - 8pm, Monday - Friday; 8am-6pm, Saturday).
Free telephone and online service for people with stress, worry, anxiety, low mood or depression. It provides online assessment and treatment for anxiety and depression and can help you find local services.
- Partners in Wellbeing Phone 1300 375 330
This new service is now available for anyone who is feeling anxious, overwhelmed or are not coping. Partners in Wellbeing can provide ongoing free, confidential support. Small business owners are encouraged to use this service.
- North, west, inner and south metro: www.neaminational.org.au/piw
- South-eastern, east metro: each.com.au/piw
- Regional: www.acso.org.au/aod-mh-support
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Offering telephone and online counselling to those affected by suicide.. Call back service. Online at suicidecallbackservice.org.au