As Australians experience tighter restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a completely normal response to feel stressed or anxious during these uncertain times. Looking after your mental and physical health during this time will support you in getting through this challenging time.

Here are a few tips on looking after yourself.

Get Informed: We often feel anxious when events feel out of our control. Anxiety tricks us into thinking about the worst-case scenarios. Instead of worrying, try to focus on what is in your control. Ensure you have facts about COVID-19 from trusted professional sources. Follow government advice and develop a plan about what you and your family will do if you need to be in self-isolation.

Focus on the here and now: Try to focus on the present moment – not the past and not the future. Live in the moment and take one day at a time.

Focus on your deen: Take the time to make supplication, recite Qur’an, perform dhikr, and pray.

Be aware of negative thoughts (or waswas): Just because we are thinking something, does not always mean it is true. When you notice yourself worrying a lot, take a step back, and try to let worries pass by without focusing on them for too long.

Be aware of negative behaviours: Certain actions may fuel one’s anxiety about health and germ-phobia. Focusing too much on bodily symptoms and relying on internet searches can overwhelm an individual with anxious thoughts and panic. Recognising these behaviours, identifying how they are making you feel, and replacing them with helpful coping strategies can alleviate disproportionate feelings of anxiety.

Take a break from the news: Constant exposure to anxiety-inducing stories may convince us that there is something to panic about. The more we read and hear about it, the more frightening it can become. Information overload can be upsetting. Make an effort to switch off your screens once in a while.

Take care of your body: Exercise, move your body, eat well-balanced meals, take deep breaths. Aside from staying safe, stay healthy.

Take a breath: When you feel overwhelmed, take a few slow, deep breaths to help you calm down. If there are other things that help you relax (e.g. praying, walking) you could try those too.

Stay connected: Talk to people you trust about your concerns and how you’re feeling. It can make a huge difference when we share our worries with others and connect with supportive people, making you feel less isolated and lonely. You may need to try new ways of connecting that you haven’t before, and that’s OK!

Get professional advice: It is OK to ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress and/or anxiety, seek professional support. Telehealth and videoconference have become an easier way of getting in touch, particularly if you are worried about going into a clinic, or in self-isolation. Remember, Hayat Line is available.

While the current situation may be overwhelming, coping with stress will allow you, the people you care about and your community to become stronger.

If you, or someone you know, is having suicidal thoughts and is in immediate danger, please call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

Hayat Line – 1300 993 398 (Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm)

Lifeline – 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800

Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636

Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511

MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78