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Self care information and useful strategies

27th March 2020

By Katherine Olsen
Student Protection Coordinator 
Townsville Catholic Education

I wanted to talk to you about self care.  It is important to acknowledge that this is a very stressful time for everyone and it is important to understand our own personal anxiety and worries at this time and be mindful and understanding of the difficulties others may be facing.  There are many families in our community that will need our support and compassion at this time. Many have lost their jobs and have no income to support their families and the prospect of isolation for many people in our community can be a very lonely thought. It is also a difficult time for decision makers who have to make very difficult decisions that affect their communities and employees livelihoods, and many times not knowing what may happen in this unprecedented situation, all while trying to mitigate the many hurdles for our community and their employees.

During this difficult time, it’s important to continue looking after your physical and mental health.  

  • Eat a healthy and nutritious diet to boost your immune system.
  • Limit alcohol consumption and avoid sugary drinks.
  • Don’t smoke. “Smoking can increase your risk of developing severe disease if you become infected.”
  • Adults should exercise 30min a day. Children, an hour.
  • If you’re working from home, get up and take a 3min break every 30min.
  • Try not to read or watch too much news if it makes you anxious.

It is important that you look after your mental health.

Try to maintain perspective
While it is reasonable for people to be concerned about the outbreak of coronavirus, try to remember that medical, scientific and public health experts around the world are working hard to contain the virus, treat those affected and develop a vaccine as quickly as possible.

Find a healthy balance in relation to media coverage
Being exposed to large volumes of negative information can heighten feelings of anxiety. While it’s important to stay informed, you may find it useful to limit your media intake if it is upsetting you or your family.

Access good quality information
It’s important to get accurate information from credible sources such as those listed below. This will also help you maintain perspective and feel more in control.

Try to maintain a practical and calm approach
Widespread panic can complicate efforts to manage the outbreak effectively. Do your best to stay calm and follow official advice, particularly around observing good hygiene habits.

Try not to make assumptions
To contribute to a sense of community wellbeing, try to remember that the coronavirus can affect anyone regardless of their nationality or ethnicity and remember that those with the disease have not done anything wrong.

Managing your mental health while in self-isolation or quarantine
There are a number of ways to support your mental health during periods of self-isolation or quarantine.

  • Remind yourself that this is a temporary period of isolation to slow the spread of the virus.
  • Remember that your effort is helping others in the community avoid contracting the virus.
  • Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, video conferencing or telephone.
  • Connect with others via the Beyond Blue forums thread: Coping during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
  • Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods.
  • Try to maintain physical activity.
  • Establish routines as best possible and try to view this period as a new experience that can bring health benefits.
  • For those working from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks and, if possible, establishing a dedicated work space.
  • Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing.

If you feel you would like some help with relaxation techniques for stress relief, please visit this website for guided strategies such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, visualization, mindfulness meditation and rhythmic movement and mindful exercise:  

Take care of yourselves, and each other.

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