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?

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.

  • 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. 
  • 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 any COVID-19 symptoms you should get a test for COVID-19. To discuss getting a test 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.



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.

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.
  • If you are 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.

Stay in touch with your loved ones and your community

  • Maintaining healthy relationships is important for our mental wellbeing. We can stay connected with our friends and whānau by doing things like texting or video-calling.
  • It's times like this that we all lean on one another. If you're feeling distressed, talk to someone you trust.
  • Small acts of kindness helps shift our focus from our own worries, and remind us about the good things in life. Why not ask your Nana about your whakapapa? Or drop off some baking to your neighbour?
  • We are all dealing with COVID-19 in our own ways, and sometimes that comes out as frustration or anger. Try not to take this personally. Lead by example by giving people the benefit of the doubt, not escalating tensions, and giving them understanding and empathy. We all need a little bit of kindness to get through this.

Financial support is available

  • It can be very stressful if you've lost your job or are facing a drop in income. But, there is help and support available. This includes:
    • a wage subsidy scheme 
    • leave and income relief support 
    • business cash flow and tax measures. 
    • If you receive a benefit, this will continue, as usual. 
  • Planning a budget and sorting out your finances can feel scary. But making a plan and sticking to a budget can give you something to be in control of.
  • If you're visiting an agency or organisation (eg, Work and Income) for assistance you can take a support person with you if you want. It's also a good idea to be prepared. Check what your rights are and what assistance you might be entitled to. Look up what documents you might need. Have a think about how you'll explain what you need.

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


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. 



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.


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.

Small Steps is an interactive and informative platform for those who are wanting to maintain and improve their mental health and wellbeing. 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:

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 wil 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. You 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

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