COVID-19 Information and Resources

It's normal to not feel normal during these times of stress and uncertainty. The Coronavirus pandemic has significant implications for our mental wellbeing and it's very important that we take care of ourselves, especially under the strain of altered routines in lockdown. 

Seeking psychological support is considered essential medical care. At this time, PSYCS is able to offer telehealth video-conferencing or masked in-person sessions.

General CBT Resources

This website provides you with symtoms of common conditions and how they are treated using CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

Some resources on managing anxiety and worry can be found here:

Resources about managing health anxiety specifically can be found here:

The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapy (BABCP) has a useful podcast on dealing with anxiety about coronavirus, which can be found here.

Resources for Children and Teens Coping with COVID-19 and Anxiety

COVID-19 anxiety can affect young people as well. Be mindful of your child's level of development as you choose how to talk to them about the pandemic. We encourage you not to let them watch media coverage, especially without some discussion of what they understand about these media encounters. Remember that children may not understand things the way you do.

The following sources of information provide advice on how to talk to children about COVID-19:

General mental health resources for children and teens can be found at the following sources:

  • CBT book list for children: here

  • CBT book list for teens: here

 

Books:

Tips for Taking Care of Yourself

Engage in helpful behaviours:

Anxiety and worry are natural and adaptive reactions when we face danger. Worry is intended to help mobilise us to take appropriate action to face danger. Unhelpful worry remains in our minds and can drain us. Take action to protect yourself and engage in helpful behaviours to help ease distress.

  • Take action to protect yourself

Use your worry to be proactive and take the necessary steps to protect yourself from COVID-19 based on  guidelines suggested by experts. Follow the guidelines of your government in physical distancing and staying at home. 

  • Engage in general self-care

Set regular times to go to bed and wake up, exercise at home and eat a balanced diet at regular mealtimes. Avoid naps or shifts in your sleep cycle, avoid excessive alcohol or caffeine and avoid impulsive distractions like online shopping sprees.

  • Engage in pleasant events

Pleasant events are helpful to improve mood, so it's important that you do things you enjoy. Brainstorm activities that you can do at home and engage in them every day. For example, you may want to listen to music, watch your favourite films, exercise at home, cook a nice meal, read a book, play board games, or arrange social events with friends and family via internet programs such as Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp or over the phone.

  • Limit worry and rumination

While it is normal to worry and be focusing more than usual on health at this time, you can take some steps to try and manage your degree of worry. One idea is to limit the amount of time you worry by setting aside a limited minute of "worry time" at the same time each day. Set a limit on the amount of information you read online, maybe 30 minutes or less per day. Think about the best time to engage in this worry. Before bed, for example, is not a good time to read upsetting news updates as it may interfere with sleep. Accurate information on COVID-19 can be found on the NSW Health page and on the World Health Organisation's website.

  • Engage in problem solving

Here are some evidence-based steps that are often helpful in solving problems:

  1. Identify the problem

  2. Generate potential solutions

  3. Plan the chosen solution 

  4. Carry out the solution

  5. Evaulate the result

This may be a useful strategy, given that we are spending time at home. For example, this technique might be able to help you solve the problem of how to structure your time at home by thinking of projects and activities you want to work on and enjoy while you are unable to go out. Or, if you are having difficulty organising yourself while working from home or you find yourself getting distracted, here are some potential problem-solving ideas in action:

The problem - Procrastination. 

The potential solution - Designating a certain stretch of time to work before taking a break.

The plan - Setting a timer for 30 minutes of work, then taking a 10 minute break to stand up and walk around.

The evaluation - How did you feel? Did you work during the 30 minutes? Do you need to modify your plan? If so, do it and try again!

 

  • Relaxation exercises

Research shows that diaphragmatic breathing exercises (slow abdominal breathing) and progressive muscle relaxation exercises (alternating tension and relaxation to identify and combat signs of phsical tension) are useful in reducing general physical tension and promoting relaxation. There are several apps and self-help books available online that can help you learn these exercises. 

  • Meditation and mindfulness

These techniques may be useful in reducing worry and improving general wellbeing. There are many resources for practising both mindfulness and meditation available on the internet, such as this e-book. Try downloading some mindfulness tracks and listening to them before bed to help you unwind.