Coping with COVID-19

Feeling anxious and stressed about COVID-19 is normal

You can find everything you need to know about COVID-19 in one place and learn the simple steps you can take to Unite for New Zealand’s recovery.

Worried about reports of new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand?


After several weeks of having no new cases of COVID-19 we are now seeing some cases again. This might sound a bit scary and it’s completely normal to feel stressed or anxious, but there is no need to panic.

It was always thought some cases might get picked up at our borders, which is why we have a 14-day managed isolation or quarantine. Since this quarantine was established, steps have been taken to tighten processes for greater safety. Everyone coming into New Zealand will be tested twice for COVID-19 before they’re allowed to leave their isolation.

It’s very important to remember that almost all of the new cases are from New Zealand citizens or residents returning home from overseas.

With the pandemic still occurring overseas people will want to come home and, of course, they have every right to do so. With compulsory isolation we have an excellent way to stop the virus spreading to the wider community.

Things you can do

Remember, there are a number of things you can do to take care of yourself and help us unite against COVID-19.

  • Keep a record of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen. This will help with rapid contact tracing if it’s required.

You can download the NZ Covid Tracer app or simply keep a note of where you’ve been.

  • Seeing repeated negative information can be upsetting. While it’s important to stay informed, you might find it useful to limit your media intake if it is upsetting you or your family.
  • Stay informed by checking accurate, reliable and up-to-date information from trusted sources backed by experts. Two reliable sources are:
  • Be wary of information you find on social media – it may not be true or reliable.
  • Be kind. Remember that the vast majority of people coming to New Zealand are citizens or residents. They may have been through a very stressful time getting home. They may be rushing home to see a loved one that is unwell or dying and their life overseas may have changed for the worse. They need our support.
  • Stay safe.
    • If you’re sick, stay home.
    • Wash your hands regularly.
    • Cough or sneeze into you elbow or cover your mouth and nose with tissues. Put tissues in a bin immediately.
    • Avoid touching your face, including your eyes, nose or mouth.
    • Clean surfaces regularly. This include items you touch often, like door handles or phones.
  • Look after your mental wellbeing. Visit the Unite against COVID-19 website for some advice.

If you have symptoms of cold or flu call Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor.

If you have:

  • any COVID-19 symptoms
  • been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case
  • recently arrived from overseas
  • been in contact with someone who has travelled overseas eg, Customs and Immigration staff, staff at quarantine/isolation facilities
  • worked on an international aircraft or ship
  • cleaned at an international airport or maritime port in areas visited by international arrivals

you should get assessed for COVID-19. To discuss getting an assessment call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor.

Visit the Ministry of Health’s website for more information about COVID-19 assessment and testing. 

Got symptoms of COVID-19?


If you have symptoms of cold or flu call Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor.

If you have:

  • any COVID-19 symptoms
  • been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case
  • recently arrived from overseas
  • been in contact with someone who has travelled overseas eg, Customs and Immigration staff, staff at quarantine/isolation facilities
  • worked on an international aircraft or ship
  • cleaned at an international airport or maritime port in areas visited by international arrivals

you should get assessed for COVID-19. To discuss getting an assessment call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor.

Visit the Ministry of Health’s website for more information about COVID-19 assessment and testing.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or uncertain about COVID-19


 Remember that it’s totally normal to feel stressed and anxious.

There are some things you can do to keep up your wellbeing and stay connected during these times. Remember we are all in this together, so here is some wellbeing advice to support you, your whānau, and your community.

 

 

Tama Tū, Tama Ora. Tama Noho, Tama Mate.

You can do a lot of things to help you, and your whānau, start feeling better.

Connect and share


Although advice and circumstances may change in the weeks and months ahead, the need for support will remain constant.

  • Connecting with other people is important for keeping up your wellbeing. Connection provides others with support, allows us to feel better about ourselves, and gives reassurance and reduces anxiety.
  • Check in with your friends, family, and neighbours regularly. If you can, assist people who may be more vulnerable than you (for example, who have no access to the internet, or cannot get to the shops).
  • When talking to children or teens about COVID-19 be open, honest and calm. Help children with anxiety by providing accurate information. Read advice at the Unite against COVID-19 website for insights on talking to young people.

Find a healthy balance in relation to media coverage


  • Being exposed to repeated negative information can be upsetting. While it’s important to stay informed, you may find it useful to limit your media intake if it is upsetting you or your family.
  • Try to stick to the facts and verified and government sources Unite against COVID-19.
  • Reassure your child or teen that it is OK to feel worried. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • When others share information with you, their facts may not always be accurate – keep this in mind when you hear something about COVID-19 that is not endorsed by trusted sources such as Unite against COVID-19 or the World Health Organization.

Be kind and don’t discriminate


  • Be kind and continue to check in on neighbours, older persons, or those who are unwell.
  • There are many ways you can support people through this time whether it is keeping in touch, running errands, or collecting shopping for them. Being kind to others not only helps them but it can also enhance your own wellbeing.
  • There are a lot of unknowns about COVID-19 but this is no reason to discriminate. Treat others with dignity and respect regardless of where they come from, their age, or whether they have the illness or not.
  • Remember, language matters – the way we all speak about COVID-19 can make a difference to whether people feel empowered and willing to be tested and seek treatment, or to provide help to others in need.

Play it safe


Now that we’re at Alert Level 1 life returns to being close to normal. Most restrictions have been lifted. You can:

  • do what you like and go wherever you like
  • get together with as many people as you want.

However, our borders remain closed to everyone but New Zealand citizens returning home. Anyone entering the country will go into managed isolation or quarantine for 14 days.

Keep track

Keep a record of where you have been and who you’ve seen. This will help with rapid contact tracing if it is required.

You can download the NZ Covid Tracer app or simply make a note of where you’ve been.

Safety tips for Alert Level 1

Remember:

  • If you’re sick, stay home.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow.
  • If you have symptoms of cold or flu, call your doctor or Healthline (0800 358 5453) and get tested for COVID-19.

For more information visit the Unite against COVID-19 website.

It is normal to feel stressed or lonely, but there are things you can do to feel better


  • Stick to a routine such as having regular meal times, bed times, and exercising.
  • If you feel you are not coping, it is important to talk with someone close to you. You can also talk to a health professional. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor.
  • For more advice visit the Looking after your mental wellbeing section at Unite against COVID-19.

Mental wellbeing


  • Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues. If you can’t meet up with them, contact them by email, social media, video or phone calls, texts and messenger.
  • Acknowledge your feelings as they arise and seek support if you start to feel anxious or depressed.
  • For those already managing mental health issues, continue doing what you know is good for you, and check in with trusted friends and family if you are worried about your levels of distress.
  • Visit the Unite against COVID-19 website for general tips on looking after your mental wellbeing.

Physical wellbeing


  • Try to engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
  • Eat healthy food and drinks and keep alcohol intake to a minimum.
  • Keep regular sleep routines for adults and children.
  • Try to maintain physical activity in open spaces such as parks, beaches or bush walks.
  • If you are well, do some jobs or fun things that you haven’t had time to do.

Reach out to others


  • Reach out to your support network.
  • Acknowledge your own and others’ feelings of distress.
  • Seek professional support if your distress is overwhelming.
  • If you notice someone else’s distress, ask them how they are, and what you can do to help.

People with existing distress with a focus on high levels of anxiety and OCD


For people who have previous or existing experiences of anxiety or OCD, COVID-19 may increase or heighten distress that we are already feeling. It is a stressful time for everyone and there are many unknowns. 

Find accurate information


Look after your social connections and mental wellbeing


Contact with others is vital and can help us keep things in perspective.

  • Adapt to the new normal but remember that this situation is temporary. It may feel uncomfortable. But it doesn’t mean you are going backwards in your recovery – we’re all doing our best!
  • Keep up your support networks. Visit the people who live nearby.
  • Make a list of a person a day to call. There may be someone you’ve wanted to chat to for ages, but haven’t had the time. Now’s the time!
  • If you are struggling, you’re not alone. Reach out for support, there are many virtual and phone-based support options. Consider The Journal to help you get through.

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.

Getting Through Together

Sparklers at Home

Mentemia

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. 

Mentemia

Melon

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.

Melon

Staying on Track

This online course teaches practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption to everyday life from COVID-19.

Staying on Track

Other COVID-19 and wellbeing information


Unite against COVID-19 is the New Zealand Government’s website dedicated to Aotearoa-New Zealand’s COVID-19 response. This is your single source of information about COVID-19.

Free call or text 1737 anytime of the day or night to talk with a trained counsellor.

The Journal is a free, personalised programme to help you manage anxiety or depression and is a helpful tool for anyone having a tough time. You’ll be guided by a team of experts through lifestyle and problem solving skills to help you stay positive.

Wellplace.nz is a Te Hiringa Hauora/Health Promotion Agency initiative bringing together practical ideas, tools and resources for people who are leading wellbeing activity in Aotearoa New Zealand workplaces

Anxiety New Zealand Trust since 1980 helped thousands of children, adolescents and adults in Aotearoa-New Zealand to build their resilience and recover from anxiety, depression, OCD and phobias.

International OCD Foundation helps those affected by obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders to live full and productive lives. Their aim is to increase access to effective treatment through research and training, foster a hopeful and supportive community for those affected by OCD and the professionals who treat them, and fight stigma surrounding mental health issues.

World Health Organization

Mental Health Foundation leads campaigns and services that cover all aspects of mental health and wellbeing. They provide free information and training, and advocate for policies and services that support people with experience of mental illness, and also their families, whānau and friends. MHF values the expertise of mental health consumers and tangata whaiora and incorporates these perspectives into all the work they do.

Download the NZ COVID Tracer app


Download available here: https://tracing.covid19.govt.nz

The quicker we can contact people who might have come into contact with COVID-19, the quicker we can stop the spread of the virus.

Here’s how you can help support contact tracing

  • Sign up today
  • Share your up-to-date contact information
  • Scan NZ COVID Tracer posters to keep track of where you’ve been
  • Ask your whānau, friends and workmates to join in

Don't have a smartphone?

You can still register online to share your latest contact information.

For more information, head to https://tracing.covid19.govt.nz

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