Health and wellbeing blogs

Taking care of your mental health when facing uncertainty

The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought feelings of uncertainty, frustration and stress for lots of people across our country. St John of God Social Outreach community mental health services director Anna-Marie Thompson shares some practical tips on how to take care of your mental wellbeing in a crisis.

Taking care of your mental health 

In times of crisis, it is completely understandable for people to feel worried, and when coupled with isolation, this can have negative impacts on your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Here’s some simple tips to help maintain your mental wellbeing during a crisis.

  1. Keep your routine
    If you need to self-isolate or you’re working from home, try to follow your ordinary routine as this will help retain structure and encourage good time management practices. This includes following your regular sleeping habits, grooming and meal times.

  2. Write it down
    Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal is a simple and effective way to clear your mind. Try starting by writing down anything that makes you happy that day to stay positive.
    Writing down feelings is a great way to express yourself when dealing with overwhelming emotions, and in turn, improve emotional wellbeing. 

  3. Connect with others
    Although people may be socially distancing themselves, it is possible to socialise digitally. This can be done by making a phone call or having a video chat with people or groups that you would normally see.
    You can also use this opportunity to provide and access peer support.

  4. Pick a new hobby
    Starting a new hobby will give you the chance to pursue a passion that you may have not necessarily explored before and is a great way to stimulate the mind and fill time.
    You can also pick up a new hobby digitally by taking up a course online. You can learn just about anything online and from the comfort of your own home.

  5. Limit your news consumption
    Reading lots of news and social media posts about COVID-19, especially from sources that are not credible, can increase feelings of anxiety and confusion. Think about switching off your devices for a set period of time each day and limiting the amount of time you spend scrolling through social media newsfeeds. There is a lot of misinformation around, so it is important to read information from trusted sources such as:
    World Health Organisation
    Australian Government coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert
    Smart Traveller

    If you are seeking information on coronavirus, the national hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week:
    Telephone: 1800 020 080.

  6. Seek support
    There are a variety of online and phone support options available, such as Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) and Lifeline (13 11 14)
    St John of God Social Outreach’s community mental health services may also help. We provide community-based mental health treatment and support for people aged 16 and older.
    We offer individually tailored counselling and group therapy for people experiencing mental health issues. These diverse therapy options are provided by a team of experienced psychologists, mental health social workers and mental health occupational therapists.
    With a referral and Mental Health Treatment Plan from a general practitioner you may be able to access the services at low or no-cost.
Anna-Marie Thompson
Anna-Marie Thompson Social Outreach Community Mental Health Services and Youth Services Director

About the Author

Anna is the St John of God Social Outreach Community Mental Health Services and Youth Services Director. She has been working in mental health since 1988. She has worked across the continuum of care from acute to residential, including portfolios which include aged care, sub acute care and alcohol and other drugs services.She has held senior leadership positions in both private and public health sector. She is passionate about partnering with consumers to inform service delivery and has a strong interest in creating workplace culture that support people to do their best work.