Coronavirus COVID-19 - Key information to support your wellbeing
Of course we are anxious….
- Anxiety and worry with the risk of COVID-19 is a normal human reaction.
- We can’t just choose to change our feelings of anxiety, but we CAN choose to act based on what is important to us, and more importantly, who is important to us. Keeping ourselves and others safe is our main task now.
- We will not be able to manage our current challenges perfectly, but together we can strive each day to manage them better.
- Actually, we have all had a form of Coronavrius infection – the common cold.
- Like the cold, many of us will contract COVID-19 which is the new coronavirus.
- For many people under the age of 65, with no medical issues the risks are relatively low.
- However, if we are unable to contain and manage the spread of COVID our health system could get overwhelmed.
- This will mean those few who get COVID-19 and do need medical help like respirators, may not be able to get it.
- Also, those people who would need medical help for other reasons this time of year, may not be able to get it.
- NZ experience to date mirrors the overseas data – to date the vast majority of working age adults are not at significant risk.
- Many young children do not develop any significant symptoms at all.
- The group at higher risk is older people who also have long-term medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and breathing problems. Risk is higher when people have more than one medical
- Social distancing, basic hygiene, especially hand washing/sanitising, and adhering to self-isolation (required at this time), is so important. We want to delay and limit the spread of COVID-19 so that our older loved ones, friends, and neighbours will have the support they need to recover from COVID-19 infection when they need it.
What might you do to manage better?
- Some people find it helpful to focus on what they can do at a time like this. None of us can control the future. While we are all worried about our work, our families and our own health we are aware that many of these things are out of our control. However, doing what we can do on a daily basis, following the guidelines regarding isolation and finding ways to manage our worry and stress will help!
- We can keep reminding ourselves that we are all in this together. Taking care within our own family or ‘bubble’ and reaching out by phone or internet to others is important now.
There is further support for you!
- For support with anxiety, distress, grief, stress – you can call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor for FREE 24/7
- Online therapy tool – www.justathought.co.nz Free and available 24/7
- Find out about other services available from your GP provider
Keeping in touch
These websites are good sources of information and resources. The WHO site, in particular, has good information sheets – you can download them for your family, friends and neighbours.
- Keep to usual activities as much as possible – in particular exercise, sleep, healthy eating, contact with friends/family even if not in person. Avoid using alcohol or drugs to cope.
- Practice self-kindness – accept your thoughts and feelings, tell yourself you are doing your best, care for yourself.
- Adhere to the “social distancing”, hand hygiene and other guidelines as much as possible.
- Talk to friends and loved ones, share worries BUT also help them to focus on taking positive steps and reminding themselves of how they can act in ways that support what is important to them
- Keep doing things that reflect the values that are important to you. In difficult times remember what is important to you. You can also ask yourself how do I want to be seen by others? Do I want to be caring, courageous, loving, funny, open, kind, patient or generous?
- Remember being kind and supportive to others is good for you too! When we smile at others we boost our own mood. Laughter even boosts our immunity-keeps us well!
- Make time for healthy activities such as yoga, mindfulness, and exercise.
Some exercises that you can try on your own
These simple strategies are a helpful sequence of things to do at times when you feel stressed or anxious:
1. Anchor yourself physically by either
Pushing your feet into the floor, sit up straight and pull your shoulders back, link your fingers and stretch your arms, rotate your shoulders.
2. Then sit back and take some slow breaths
if possible into your tummy – imagine there is a balloon in your abdomen and with every breath in, you are inflating it. Breathe in to a count of 7, hold for a count of 3, and then exhale to a count of 7, and while you exhale imagine all the tension in your body flowing out with the breath. Repeat this for a few minutes, and notice that your body feels calmer with each cycle of slow breathing.
3. Then bring yourself into the present
by noticing things around you – notice what noises you can hear, notice some things around you that you can see, notice what you can taste or smell. This simple set of steps take little time, and will help to calm your body and mind. Sometimes it is helpful to repeat the cycle several times until you are feeling truly calm and present.
4. Once you feel calm
get on with what you need to do next.