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 against COVID-19.

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

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

Worried about COVID-19?


It’s normal to be feeling down, anxious or angry about COVID-19. To help, we’ve put together some helpful information and tools for keeping you and your community safe and well during all COVID-19 alert levels.

If you feel you’re not coping, it’s important to talk with someone. Call depression helpline on 0800 111 757 or text 4202 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to speak to a trained counsellor.

Be careful of information you find on social media – it may not be true or reliable. Stay informed by checking accurate, reliable and up-to-date information from trusted sources backed by experts. Depression.org recommends:

Look after yourself and others


Te Whare Tapa Wha is a Māori model of health developed by Sir Mason Durie that recognises four key components of health: spiritual health (taha wairua), family health (taha whānau), physical (taha tinana), and mental health (taha hinengaro).

Think, read online or chat with your whānau and friends about what you might do to improve your health in each of these areas.

Connection, for example, can support our family health and mental health. Connection provides others with support, allows us to feel better about ourselves, and gives us reassurance. Here are some other ways that you can connect:

  • Stay connected with friends and whānau. Depending on what alert level we are currently at, you might not be able to meet up with them. Try contacting them by video or phone calls, social media, texts and messenger. If you’re already managing mental health issues, continue doing what you know is good for you and regularly check in with trusted friends and family.
  • If you feel you’re not coping, it’s 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.
  • 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. There’s also information about COVID-19 for young people available on The Lowdown.
  • Reassure your whānau, especially children or teens, 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 or search online for some tips to try together.

Free online tools for mental wellbeing


There are a range of free apps, toolkits, and other digital resources available to help New Zealanders look after their mental wellbeing:

Small Steps website provides you with tools, resources, and info to support your mental wellbeing and provides info to help you support your friends and whānau.

Whakatau Mai are free, online wellbeing sessions provided by Changing Minds, including yoga, journaling and online support sessions.

Getting Through Together offers a toolkit of tips and advice on how to cope with the stress of COVID-19.

Sparklers at Home is a resource for parents to talk with their primary-school-aged children about their mental health and wellbeing.

Mentemia provides practical tips and techniques to help you take control of your mental wellbeing.

Melon app includes a health journal, resources, daily webinars, self-awareness tools, an online community and Living well program for COVID-19-related anxiety to help you manage your emotional wellbeing.

Staying on Track is an online course teaches practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption to everyday life from COVID-19.

There are a range of free, confidential helplines available 24 hours a day to support you and your whānau:

If you’re not in New Zealand, find an organisation in your country that can help using Find A Helpline.

If this is an emergency, call 111.

Find a healthy balance with media


  • 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.
  • Social media can sometimes be fun and a nice distraction. However, if you catch yourself spending a lot of time online, consider challenging yourself to a few hours technology free.
  • The information you find on social media or that other people share with you may not always be accurate – try to stick to the facts from verified or government sources like Unite against COVID-19 and the World Health Organization.

Be kind and don’t discriminate


Be kind to yourself

This is a difficult time and the impacts of COVID-19 might leave us all feeling a lot of different emotions. You might be feeling a bit down, anxious, worried for others, angry or feel like you have no control. You might also feel positive, grateful, or relaxed. That’s okay too. These are all normal emotions and thoughts to have during stressful times.

If you want information or support, check out the tips and resources in “LOOK AFTER YOURSELF AND OTHERS” and “FREE ONLINE RESOURCES”.

Be kind to others

Continue to check in on neighbours, older people, or those who are unwell. 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. Remember to check what COVID-19 alert level we’re at to make sure you are checking in safely.

Don’t discriminate

There are a lot of unknowns about COVID-19 but this is no reason to discriminate. Always respect people regardless of where they come from, their age, or whether they have COVID-19 or not.

Staying safe


 There are a number of things you can do to stay safe, and help us unite against COVID-19:

  • Keep a record of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen. This will help with fast contact tracing if it’s required. You can download the NZ COVID Tracer app or simply keep a note of where you’ve been, when you were there and who you saw.
  • Read about how face coverings work, how to make sure they fit and when you need to wear them here.
  • Practice social distancing (sometimes called physical distancing). Stay two metres away from people who are outside your bubble, where possible. Find the social distancing guidelines for each alert level here.
  • If you live in New Zealand and are 12 or over, you might be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Check out these videos to learn the how the vaccine works, or click here for more information.
  • Practice good hygiene.
    • If we’re at alert level 3 or 4, or 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.
  • If you have any cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, call Healthline (0800 358 5453) or your doctor to discuss getting a COVID-19 test or find more info here.

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 you and your whānau. Check out these tips to improve your sleep routine here.
  • Physical activity not only improves fitness but boosts endorphins and supports mental health. Try to get some movement in your day by going for a walk, having a dance, joining an exercise class or doing some stretches. Remember to check what COVID-19 alert level we’re at to make sure you are moving safely.
  • To get a boost of productivity, try tick some jobs off your to-do list.
  • Do something fun!

Financial support is available


It can be stressful if you've lost your job or are facing a drop in income. But there is help and support available. Find more information here.

Download the NZ COVID Tracer app


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

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

Here’s how you can help support contact tracing

  • Enable Bluetooth tracing – the faster we can alert people, the faster we can get ahead of the virus.
  • Keep scanning QR codes – the more we scan, the safer we will be.
  • Add your up-to-date contact information.
  • Keep the app up to date to get all the latest features.
  • Ask your whānau, friends and workmates to join in.

Remember, you are in control of your information. Your diary and Bluetooth data does not leave your phone unless you choose to share it.

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

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.

World Health Organization is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.

Wellplace.nz offers ideas, tools and resources for people who are leading wellbeing activity in Aotearoa New Zealand workplaces.

Anxiety New Zealand Trust has 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.

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.

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