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How to look after your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Thursday, 2 April 2020, 04:49 PM by Greenwich College

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) has changed the way we live, work and communicate. The current restrictions on social gatherings will have significant impacts on all of us and may cause people stress, anxiety and concerns. We are all going through a period of uncertainty at the moment but we can do our best to stay safe, healthy (physically and mentally) and connected.

It is important to stay informed, and it is even more important to take care of your Mental Health and Wellbeing. Lifeline has given us useful tips and strategies to continue looking after ourselves and each other during these difficult times, and we would like to share some of them with you.

Manage your exposure to media coverage as this can increase feelings of fear and anxiety. Be mindful of sources of information and ensure you are accessing good quality and accurate information. 

Show compassion and kindness to one another – these times of fear, isolation (both physical and social) and uncertainty are when it is most important that we strengthen our sense of community by connecting with and supporting each other. Remind ourselves that we can manage this much better together in solidarity, and that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate – it can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality or ethnicity.

Actively manage your wellbeing by maintaining routines where possible, connect with family and friends (even if not in person), staying physically active, eating nutritious foods and seeking additional support by contacting a professional support as required.  

Strategies to cope with social distancing, self-isolation or quarantine

Going into a period of social distancing, self-isolation or quarantine can contribute to feelings of helplessness and fear. We encourage the following;

  • Perspective – try to see this time as unique and different, not necessarily bad, even if it something you didn’t necessarily choose

  • Connection – think of creative ways to stay connected with others, including social media, email and phone

  • Be generous to others – giving to others in times of need not only helps the recipient, it enhances your wellbeing too. 

  • Stay connected with your values. Don’t let fear or anxiety drive your interactions with others. We are all in this together!

  • Daily routine – create a routine that prioritises things you enjoy and even things you have been meaning to do but haven’t had enough time. Read that book, watch that show, take up that new hobby.

  • Try to see this as a new and unusual period that might even have some benefits.

  • Limit your exposure to news and media. Perhaps choose specific times of day when you will get updates, and ensure they are from reputable and reliable sources.

As we mentioned above, connection is vital during these uncertain times. Remember, we are all in this together, regardless of race, colour, religion. Connect to your family, connect to your friends. Don’t underestimate the power you have to offer hope to another person. Use this time to learn new skills, to listen to music, to listen to yourself (the inner voice). It is time to grow, to be a better person. 

Online Social Life

iStock-1170706837

Lifeline has also given some tips on staying connected to others during this time. If there is someone you think may struggle through social isolation, it is important to reach out to them and let them know you care:

    • - Call them to check on their welfare
      - Send an email
      - Leave a note under their door
      - Don’t underestimate the power you have to offer hope to another person.


We encourage people to get creative with how they interact, here are some ways to stay connected if self-isolating:

- Set up a gratitude tree – where every member posts a message or sends a text to other members to share something they are grateful for.
- Find a buddy, or group of, to set daily challenges with. These could include a healthy habit, a mindful practice, a creative pursuit. Be sure to encourage and check in daily to stay motivated.
- Set dates and times to watch the same TV shows/movies with someone and message each other your thoughts along the way.

mental healthNeed Support?

It is ok not to be ok. If you feel you need support, it is extremely important to seek out help.

  • AccessEAP - Student Assistance Program

    • Each student at Greenwich College is offered access to free and confidential face-to-face or phone counselling sessions at a variety of convenient locations across Australia.

    • Call anytime on 1800 959 192 to book a face-to-face or phone counseling appointment at a time that suits you.

  • Lifeline

    • Call anytime on 13 11 14 
      Lifeline Text 0477 13 11 14
      Webchat 


Official sources of information

Additional Support

Here are some extra useful links if you are experiencing hard times:

https://www.greenwichcollege.edu.au/red-cross-australia-financial-support 

https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/527144 

Melbourne Support:

https://www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/

https://www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/help-and-support/support-for-students-coronavirus

Sydney Support:

https://www.study.sydney/student-welfare/emergency-food-assistance

http://www.study.sydney/news-and-stories/news/covid-19-international-student-welfare-support  

https://www.study.sydney/student-welfare/mental-health-and-wellbeing 

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