Click below to download guided workbooks with practical tips and strategies that can support your emotional well-being during times of stress and uncertainty
Staying on Track
Listen to the Staying on Track Audio Guide and learn about three simple things you can do to stay grounded, connected, and moving forward during the coronavirus outbreak.
It comes with a resource pack containing a wide range of psychological strategies you can use to help you get through this tough time.
Staying on Track Guide is proudly brought to you in collaboration with our New Zealand partner Just a Thought.
Addressing Symptoms & Managing Your Mental Health
See if one of these, self-paced online treatment courses could help you tackle symptoms of a mental health condition.
This 6-lesson course is about helping you tackle persistent, intense, and uncontrollable worry, and learn helpful behaviours for managing repetitive thoughts about the future.
This course is for people whose worrying is causing significant distress and is interfering with normal everyday activities.
It may be especially helpful if you have been previously diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety.
This 4-lesson course is about helping you tackle symptoms of insomnia – chronic and persistent difficulties with falling or staying asleep, which are affecting your quality of life.
This course is for people who’ve been experiencing ongoing difficulties with sleep for at least 3 months.
It may be especially helpful if you have been previously diagnosed with Insomnia.
This 6-lesson course is about helping you tackle feelings of persistent anxiety, nervousness, low motivation, and low mood, and learn helpful behaviours to stay well.
This course is for people whose feelings of anxiety or low mood are significantly impacting their day to day life.
It may be especially helpful if you have been previously diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression.
If you need to speak with someone about how you feel or what’s going on for you, contact one of the services below.
In case of an emergency, dial 000.
Suicide Callback Service
Explore our clinicians’ answers to some commonly asked questions about staying well during a pandemic.
To help you get through this, it is important to remember that these self isolation measures are only temporary (even though it may feel never ending!) and necessary to keep us as safe and healthy as possible. This will help you to persevere when the going gets tough. It is hard to know how much longer this will go for, so it is helpful to just focus on one day at a time, or one hour at a time.
Plan each day ahead of time, rather than leaving it up to your mood to make the decisions for you. Have structured activities in place that give you both feelings of pleasure and achievement, every day. This will be different for everyone, so take the time to think about what makes you feel good.
Have variety to minimise boredom. Find a balance between taking care of your responsibilities, time to unwind and relax, get enough mental stimulation, exercise, sleep, a healthy diet and maintain relationships as best you can. You could pick up a new skill or hobby you haven’t had time to before. Our usual routines, activities and outlets are now limited. So, you may need to be more creative and flexible with how you go about scheduling your time and planning your day to day activities.
Being separated from others is probably one of the biggest challenges we all face. We will miss seeing the people we care about, work with or do fun things with. It is also hard no longer being able to shake hands or give hugs.
However, social distancing is not the same as social disconnection. Just like we may need to be purposeful in going out to see others face to face, we also need to be purposeful in maintaining relationships through other means such as text messages, phone calls or video calls (or video parties, as some people are having!). Share a joke, keep each other’s spirits up and talk openly, whether it be about COVID-19 or other topics. While we can’t be physically close to each other, we can still relate as best we can.
Social connection and support is so important to our mental health. You can be honest in letting your friends or family know how you’re finding this situation. It’s very likely that others are having a hard time too, so you can share in this experience together. Reach out to others, look out for them and let them know you’re thinking of them. Ask them how they are coping. This may also be an opportune time to reconnect with people you haven’t been in contact with for a while.
This is a very common issue! Many of us are not used to spending so much time together in confined spaces. Everyone is undergoing stress, uncertainty and adjustment, so it’s no wonder that conflict can easily arise under these changing circumstances.
It’s helpful to have very open discussions with each other to negotiate a range of issues, such as who does what and how much housework, how to share the physical space, how to share resources such as the kitchen, bathroom or equipment, how much together time vs individual time you would like or need, sharing the parenting load, how much time the TV will be on, how much time you spend talking about COVID-19 and other issues that are relevant to your household. Of course, we cannot pre-empt everything. But the more you plan ahead, the less likely you’ll get into heated arguments.
Be prepared that people will have different preferences and ideas, and find ways to calmly come up with workable solutions. Problem solve together. Be willing to assert your opinions, ask for what you need, listen to others’ views, be patient and compromise. Set aside time for fun and relaxing things to do together as a family or household. This can help create positive interactions and light-hearted moments, which is so important during these trying times.
Find ways to regularly keep in touch with colleagues, whether it be via text messaging, phone calls or video conferencing to maintain connections and collaborations. Be willing to both initiate and take part when invited. Some people are doing video conferencing tea breaks or lunch times together so that some social interaction still takes place.
Clear communication is also key, as it is very easy for things to be misunderstood or misinterpreted when you are not communicating in person. Check that you’re on the same page so you can work well together even though you’re physically apart.
Set up your home office to make it conducive to being productive, get dressed out of your pyjamas as though you are going to your workplace, make sure you take adequate rest breaks, get some fresh air to help you stay alert and put helpful routines and structures in place. It is important to be clear on work-life boundaries so that work doesn’t overtake your time for family, leisure and rest. Have a clear start, lunch and finish time.
For those of us working from home and parenting at the same time, this can be very challenging. Work as a team with your partner or other adults caring for your children, about how you can best balance competing demands on your time and attention.
No! Many of us have been looking forward to things this year, and our lives have been disrupted by COVID-19. You may be grieving the loss of things you’ve been working on, anticipating that it would come to fruition and not know how long it’ll need to be put on hold for.
You might have had to cancel or postpone a social event or special celebration like a birthday party, wedding or reunion; the travel restrictions may mean you can’t go on that holiday you’ve waited ages for or you can’t move somewhere to start a new life anymore; or your hopes to start a course, job or business venture just aren’t possible, just to name a few examples.
Even if you hadn’t necessarily made big plans, chances are, how you envisioned your life to be in 2020 is likely to be quite different to the reality of it. It can be really difficult to accept this.
It is only natural to feel disappointed, angry, sad, uncertain, upset, fearful, frustrated, hopeless, helpless and other emotions. Understandably, you could be feeling lots of emotions at once, or find that your emotions change from day to day. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you feel, rather than judging yourself for it or being hard on yourself for feeling the way you are.
Totally! In fact, a bit of anxiety is useful right now. Why? Because anxiety is designed to alert us to potential threats in our environment, and mobilises us to do things to help keep us safe. It is actually a helpful emotion.
COVID-19 is a real threat to our health and safety. If we weren’t anxious about it, we wouldn’t be staying at home more, physical distancing, handwashing, handsanitising or using other measures to protect ourselves and others from this virus. If we weren’t anxious about it, we wouldn’t be seeking medical attention, getting ourselves tested or following the advice of health professionals.
Even if we’re not worried about getting sick ourselves, worrying about infecting others means we are more likely to look out for others. Those who are elderly, immunosuppressed or more vulnerable need us all to take precautions.
Without anxiety, our behaviours are unlikely to change and we would still go about doing things the way we were, before. This would put us, our loved ones and those in the wider community at more risk of infection.
So, being more anxious than usual isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Anxiety is actually needed to help slow the spread and “flatten the curve”. It is also helpful if it leads to protective action to keep us well and save lives.
We are all facing a lot of change and uncertainty at the moment. Many people are feeling overwhelmed when everyday, new announcements are made by government and health officials about where we can or can’t go, what we can or can’t do, who we can and can’t see, the criteria for who should be tested for coronavirus, what services are still open or closed, the economic relief efforts and more.
Stay informed as best you can from reliable sources. Give yourself the time and space to take in all the new information, and work out how this will affect your life. The reality is that day to day life is looking very different for us all. With this “new normal” comes a process of adjustment. It can be hard to accept change, especially when it wasn’t of our choosing.
While a lot of things are outside of our control, we can choose to focus on what is in our control. Consider the steps you and your household can take to better adjust to, and cope during this time of transition. There may be ways of preserving some resemblance of normality with some planning. This may mean coming up with a new or different set of routines that will help you feel as calm, grounded and settled as possible.
You could be feeling extremely anxious for a number of reasons. It may be you are finding self isolation very stressful, know someone who has contracted COVID-19, you may be sick and be worried you have it, you may have lost your job or be worried you could lose your job, have increased responsibilities on your plate right now, have mental health issues already or a host of other reasons.
You could take this test to find out your level of psychological distress. Based on your responses to this, a suggestion will be made on what may be helpful for you to consider.
It may be checking out our COVID-19 resources for more coping skills or doing one of our online courses at THIS WAY UP, based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy . If you are feeling that your anxiety is out of control, causing you a lot of distress or getting in the way of your day to day life, you could consider seeking more intensive professional help.
This might mean seeing your local GP, who can advise you on what might be most helpful to you right now. This could include a referral to a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. Regardless, be assured there is support available during this challenging time.
Indeed, daily updates with statistics and graphs of coronavirus cases and deaths is very anxiety provoking.
It can be distressing to see images of sick people in hospital, health professionals wearing personal protective gear, coffins and photos of people who’ve lost their lives.
It is confronting to see lines of people at testing clinics, Centrelink or hoards of people panic buying. Seeing all this can make us cry, worry, get angry or frustrated, feel shocked, hopeless or helpless.
These emotions are understandable and natural responses. However, if you’re finding that it’s taking you a long time to bounce back after media exposure, you can take active steps to change the way you consume the news.
For example, rather than constantly checking, you can put limits on how much you read/watch so that you get the information you need.
You can choose which articles to read now, or later. You can also choose to read or watch the news at certain times of the day, for example when you feel you can cope better so you can get on with the rest of your day.
Or, you might decide not to read or watch at night if that will help you unwind and get to sleep better. You can also limit how much time you spend scrolling your news feed on social media.
Plenty! The “heaviness” of the pandemic can affect our mood, leaving us feeling grim and despairing. As COVID-19 has spread, you may have noticed an escalation in how much we’re all focusing on it.
Sometimes it can feel like the virus has overtaken our lives, even if we’re not sick with it ourselves. While this is to be expected given how much COVID-19 is affecting us, it doesn’t have to be all consuming.
You could try to strike a better balance between how much time you spend talking about COVID-19 vs other topics of conversation. You could also balance your exposure to the news with other tv shows, movies or books that are more light hearted, funny or give you a break.
Maintaining a sense of humour is important at times likes this! Many people have missed entertainment events that have been cancelled. Some entertainers are now posting online shows or home concerts. Some zoos are live streaming their animals. Since places of worship can no longer be attended, you can find videos or live streams of church services or other ways of staying connected with your faith practices or community.
Some people have also thought about some positives to this situation, such as using this as an opportunity to re-evaluate what it most important to them or slowing down.
In partnership with
THIS WAY UP is dedicated to empowering clinicians during this challenging time. As a clinician you can prescribe THIS WAY UP’s evidence-based online CBT courses, and use our resources and tools in your clinical practice.
Learn how by clicking the icons below.
We are a group of clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, researchers and web technicians who are passionate about translating established psychological treatments into practical, convenient, and accessible online courses that teach effective strategies to conquer anxiety and improve mood.