Supporting your mental health when you have COVID-19

If you’ve received a positive test result telling you you have COVID-19, you’re probably feeling heaps – shock, stress and worry for yourself and others, or maybe ka pai/all good – all of these feelings are normal and expected.
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While your physical health and doing what you can to minimise your chances of spreading the virus are important, it’s also important to look after your hinengaro/mental health throughout this time too. Here’s how:

Stick to the facts

It’s easy for our minds to jump to worst-case scenarios, especially when we’ve been exposed to years of scary media stories about COVID-19. But we know most people with COVID-19 (especially those who are fully vaccinated) are likely to have a mild to moderate infection and will fully recover at home. Try to stay calm and stick to one or two reliable sources of information, like the Ministry of Health’s website or Unite Against COVID-19. If you have underlying health conditions that mean COVID-19 puts you at risk, make sure you talk to your doctor about what this means for you, and have the information you need to stay on top of your health. By limiting the amount of news/pūrongo and social media you consume, you can feel on top of the news without feeling overwhelmed by it. 

Stay connected

Although you’re physically isolated, one of the best things you can do for your wellbeing is stay connected with your whānau and friends. Being connected helps us feel safer, less stressed and less anxious. Let the people you care about know you’re isolating with COVID-19 and schedule regular catch ups on the phone or by video call. Depending on how you feel, you could also try playing virtual video games with mates, playing online scrabble or other board games, joining or starting a virtual book club, or sharing a favourite karakia or waiata with your friends on social media.

Take things one day at a time

If you’re feeling okay, it can help to create a routine for your days to give them some structure and make things feel a bit less all over the place and a bit more in control. Little rituals like showering and getting dressed or planning consistent meal times can go a long way. Distraction methods are great too. Immerse yourself in a hobby or activity, like mindful colouring, a puzzle or a good book to distract you from worrying about having COVID-19. 

For more advice from the Ministry of Health on what to do if you test positive for COVID-19, click here