Staying mentally healthy
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. It's normal to feel anxious or stressed about COVID-19, or you may feel lonely when you're self-isolating. However, there are lots of things you can do to feel better.
Top ways to look after your mental wellbeing
While there are things that we can’t control now, there are things we can do to boost our mental wellbeing and that of your loved ones.
This is important for our wellbeing and helps to make us feel safer, less stressed and less anxious. We can support each other to get through this. While we are limiting social contact to contain the spread of COVID-19, there are still lots of ways we can connect.
Acknowledge your feelings
It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, worried or scared in the current situation. Allow yourself time to notice and express what you’re feeling. This could be by writing thoughts and feelings down in a journal, talking to others, doing something creative or practising meditation. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you’re feeling. Reach out to others.
Stick to routines where possible
Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time, eat at regular times, shower, change your clothes, have regular e-meetings with colleagues or virtual coffee dates with friends and do your chores. Meditating and exercising can help you to relax and have a positive impact on your thoughts. Try not to increase unhealthy habits like comfort eating, drinking, smoking or vaping.
Check in on other people who might need help
Reaching out to those who may be feeling alone or concerned can benefit both you and the person receiving support.
Seek accurate information from legitimate sources
You may find it useful to limit your media intake. Get the facts from this website to help distinguish facts from rumours. Seek information updates at specific times once or twice a day.
Don’t be afraid to seek further professional support
For support with anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Continue existing mental health treatment if possible
Notice if your symptoms are getting worse. Talk to your GP, counsellor, caseworker or mental health team about how they can continue supporting you.
Community mental health service appointments will be online or by phone where possible, however there may be some face-to-face urgent appointments, so long as professionals can take appropriate measures to manage public health risks. Listen to the tips from your treatment provider to help you get through.
You may also want to consider who you can call if you need urgent help.
Managing your mental wellbeing
Reach out to your usual supports such as whānau, friends and workmates. If it's not possible to meet in person, then connect by phone, web chat or email. Sharing how we feel and offering support to others is important.
If you feel you’re not coping
If you feel you're not coping, it's important to talk with a health professional. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Tell yourself that how you are feeling is a normal reaction and will pass and that it's nothing to be afraid of.
We’re all in this together, and even if we can't be physically in touch for whatever reason, it’s important to stay connected in other ways. New Zealand is known for its manaakitanga and now more than ever we need to remember the power of kindness and uniting together.
If you’re not sure what assistance may be available, or you don’t know who to contact for help, call the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997, 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.
Free online resources
Free apps, toolkits, and other digital resources are available to help New Zealanders look after their mental wellbeing.
Getting Through Together
You can find tips and advice on how to cope with the stress of COVID-19 in the Getting Through Together toolkit, developed by All Right? in partnership with the Canterbury DHB and the Mental Health Foundation.
This set of online resources can help you get through, stay connected, and support your wellbeing. It also includes Sparklers at Home, a resource for parents to talk with their primary-school-aged children about their mental health and wellbeing.
The Mentemia app provides practical tips and techniques to help you take control of your mental wellbeing. It was created by All Blacks legend and mental health advocate Sir John Kirwan, tech entrepreneur Adam Clark, and an expert team of medical advisors.
The Melon app provides a health journal, resources and self-awareness tools to help you manage your emotional wellbeing. Melon also provides an online community for New Zealanders to connect and support each other, and daily webinars for health and wellbeing.
Staying on Track
This online course teaches practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption to everyday life from COVID-19.
NZSL videos relating to this page
- It's OK to ask for help (external link)
- It's OK to have feelings (external link)
- Looking after your mental wellbeing (external link)
- Staying mentally healthy (external link)
- Stay connected (external link)
- Check in with others who might need help (external link)
- Continue with your mental health treatment (external link)
- Are you struggling? (external link)
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