It is normal to feel stress, anxiety, fear and loneliness during this time. Some of us are fortunate to be isolated with loved ones and a family unit while others are self-isolating and distanced from their family, friends and colleagues. We all cope with circumstances differently, but it is important to remember that we are all part of a community. It is our human nature to care for one another and we may also need to turn to others for social and emotional support.

COVID-19 provides us with a need to adapt. If you are coping well – remember that there is most likely someone near to you that is not and if you are not coping, there will be people willing to listen and support you.

So what is resilience?

"Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress."1

To be resilient also requires us to improve our mental stamina. There are a number of ways to do this and the simplest is to maintain a positive mindset while confronted with lots of negative news.

Driving positive behaviours

We need to shift our mindset during these times to enable our resilience to shine.

  • "I'm stuck at home" becomes "I am safe at home and can spend time with my family."
  • "I will get sick and my parents will too" becomes "If I self-isolate along with my family and wash my hands my risk of disease will reduce my risks SIGNIFICANTLY of getting sick."
  • "I will run out of items while I am isolated" becomes "I have everything I need for now and supply will be available when I need it."
  • "Everything is shutting down - I'm panicking" becomes "The most important places like medical centres, pharmacies and grocery stores will remain open."
  • "There is so much uncertainty - I don't know what to do" becomes "While I can't control the situation I can control my actions. Take breaks, call my loved ones, sleep well, eat well and keep active - this will help me get through this."

Strategies for mental resilience

The road to mental resilience can take on many directions. Some simple strategies to consider during this time include:

  • Maintain and make connections
    Keeping connections with family, friends and colleagues is critical. Look for people who care for you, will listen and can share positive outlooks. Likewise, assisting others can benefit our resilience. Lean in, help your family friends and neighbours where you can.

  • Don’t catastrophise
    We can’t change what is happening around us but we can change how we respond to it. Consider the facts, the odds and the use of extreme words like always, never. We sometimes think of the worst scenario as being the most likely which is very rarely the case. Try to challenge any negative thinking by also considering the best case scenario.

  • Set clear goals
    Goals can give you control back. They direct your attention and provide motivation to get things done. Make them simple to start and gradually build on them. Remember to consider longer term goals.

  • Regulate your emotions
    Use breathing techniques, try mindfulness, exercise regularly. These are great ways to help improve your resilience.

Resources to understand and improve mental resilience

Here are a few resources to help you cope and to help you understand and improve your resilience.

  1. Health Direct - Resilience: A simple guide to resilience and coping.
  2. Better Access to Mental Health Care: How to access subsidised mental health support through your GP if you need help.
  3. Beyond Blue - What is mental health?: A simple guide on mental health, how to check yours and seeking help.

Where to get help if you think you need it? If you, or someone you know needs help and are not coping, here are some links and numbers to contact. Reaching out is winning, it should not be considered defeat:

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