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COVID-19 is changing the way we work and the way we live. We are part of an evolving situation where we don’t know what will happen next. Feeling uncertain, overwhelmed, scared, sad, confused or angry is common and expected. 

The good news is we can learn to live with uncertainty and respond in positive and productive ways.  

Practical tips 

  • Be aware of your thoughts and feelings. Check in with yourself every day and remember some days will be better than others. Recognise triggers for stress and anxiety, breathe and seek support when needed. 
  • Keep informed via official sources. Get the latest news on COVID-19 from trusted sources. Mainstream media and social media are often sensationalised. It is also important to take a break (even from trusted sources).
  • Focus on things you can control. Let go of the things out of your control. Focus on eating and sleeping well, and exercising at home or outside while maintaining physical distancing.
  • Maintain a positive outlook. Use positive coping statements to help you stay calm and keep perspective. For example, ‘There is a lot of uncertainty in the world that makes me nervous, but I can manage it if I focus on the things in my control’.
  • Stay connected by phone and online. Keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues by phone, email, videoconferencing or messaging applications. 
  • Look after yourself and others. Reach out to colleagues, friends, family or people in your community who may need some extra assistance. One example is people having the added pressure of extended caring responsibilities. 
  • Find opportunities to tell positive stories. Share positive images of people who are looking after others, sharing their resources or who have supported a loved one. 
  • Respect those providing essential services. Acknowledge the hard work of health care workers, truck drivers and everyone working in essential businesses to keep us safe.

Monitoring your responses to COVID-19

The way we respond to COVID-19 will likely change as further news and information becomes available. You can use the mental health continuum to monitor your responses and understand what to do and when to take action. When you recognise where you are on the continuum you can take steps to protect and improve your mental health. 

Coping

  • Coping with normal mood fluctuations
  • Able to focus and be productive
  • ACTION: keep active, eat well and stay connected

Reacting

  • Nervous, angry or distracted
  • Disrupted sleep or unable to focus
  • ACTION: connect with a trusted friend, colleague, health professional or contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). 

Not Coping

  • Excessive anxiety and stress
  • Unable to sleep or concentrate
  • ACTION: contact your GP, a counsellor or psychologist, the EAP or other support services (see below).

For more information 

Support services

Last reviewed: 
28 April 2020