Coronavirus (COVID-19): common reactions
As the situation relating to COVID-19 unfolds, including news reports, travel restrictions, and concerns for your own and your loved ones’ health – people can experience a wide range of thoughts, feelings and reactions.
You or someone you know may experience periods of:
Feeling stressed or overwhelmed
Anxiety, worry, or fear
Sadness, tearfulness, and/or loss of interest in usual enjoyable activities
Physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate, stomach upset, low energy, or other uncomfortable sensations
Frustration, irritability, or anger
Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
Isolating or withdrawing from others, and/or fear of going to public spaces
Strategies to cope with stress, anxiety or distress
Acknowledge your feelings. In situations that are uncertain and evolving such as this, it’s understandable to feel stressed, anxious, or upset, among other emotional reactions. Allow yourself time to notice and express what you’re feeling. This could be by writing them down in a journal, talking to others, doing something creative, or practising meditation.
Maintain your day-to-day normal activities and routine where possible. Having a healthy routine can have a positive impact on your thoughts and feelings. This can include: eating healthy meals, physical exercise like walking, running or stretching, getting enough sleep, and doing things you enjoy.
Stay connected. Receiving support and care from others has a powerful effect on helping us cope with challenges. Spending time with supportive family and friends can bring a sense of comfort and stability. Talking through our concerns, thoughts, and feelings with others can also help us find helpful ways of thinking about or dealing with a stressful situation.
Seek accurate information. Finding credible sources you can trust is important to avoid the fear and panic that can be caused by misinformation. The Australian Government have up-to-date fact sheets, including advice and support.
Set limits around news and social media. It’s understandable to want to keep informed, especially if you or your loved ones are affected. At the same time, constantly reading, watching, or listening to upsetting media coverage can unnecessarily intensify worry and agitation. Take a break from news or social media, especially if there’s no new information. Focus on things that are positive in your life and actions you have control over.
Stay up to date with your workplace's advice and support. Check your workplace's support website for regular updates, and other information.
Follow protection and prevention recommendations provided by qualified health professionals. The Australian Department of Health has information about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself.