Balancing your emotions during unstable times


By Dr Zoe Wainer, Head of Public Health at Bupa.

As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation evolves in Australia and around the world, the majority of us have felt the impact on our daily lives.You might find yourself:

  • struggling to get your shopping done in busier supermarkets,
  • juggling work and childcare at home,
  • worrying about keeping personal finances stable as markets experience volatility, or
  • becoming more distracted and fixated on the news and social media.

All these factors can have a major impact on your mental health. Living with uncertainty and changing everyday habits in a short space of time often creates stress, so balance your emotions by finding peace of mind while still enjoying good things in life.

A small amount of stress is normal, but when negative thoughts and worry start to interfere with your ability to function, it’s important to act and seek help.

Talk to your GP, or for urgent support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia and 0800 543 354 in New Zealand

There are also a few simple things you can do at home to help manage mild to moderate stress:

  1. Connect with people: Check in with loved ones and friends and ask them how they are holding up. Offering your support can help maintain a sense of community, which is essential for combatting feelings of loneliness and helplessness.
  2. Limit your media intake: Don’t get sucked into the 24/7 news cycle and focus on being present when spending time with family or friends. That way you can address any concerns they might have and help shift the focus from fear to fun.
  3. Open up to new experiences: Just because there are limitations on what you can do in the outside world, it doesn’t mean new experiences are off-limits. You can still develop a green thumb in the backyard, engage in online yoga or even learn how to play a new board game. The wellbeing benefits of shifting your focus from negative messages can make a big difference.
  4. Practice good mind and body hygiene: The constant focus on handwashing or sanitising can be overwhelming. You can make a positive out of the situation by taking the time to think of something you appreciate in your life each time you clean your hands. Some parents are even making-up fun songs to sing with their kids during hand-washing time.
  5. Don’t let things spiral: If you feel you are struggling to manage your emotions safely, make sure you consult a GP or qualified health professional who can provide you with some intervention options. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

It’s completely normal to feel anxious at this time, but by practising kindness and self-care you give yourself the best chance of making it through with a healthy mind and body.

Helpful resources

Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636

Kids Helpline –1800 55 1800

Lifeline 24hr counselling —13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service –1300 659 467

1800 RESPECT Domestic Violence support –1800 737 732


  • American Psychological Association. Coronavirus anxiety. [Online] 2020 [Accessed 19 March 2020] Available from: www.apa.org

  • Australian Psychological Society. Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety. [Online] 2020 [Accessed 19 March 2020] Available from: www.psychology.org.au

  • Beyond Blue. Looking after yourself during the coronavirus update. [Online] 2020 [Accessed 19 March 2020] Available from: www.beyondblue.org.au

  • Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Mental health and coping during COVID-19. [Online] 2020 [Accessed 19 March 2020] Available from: www.cdc.gov

  • World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. [Online] 2020 [Accessed 19 March 2020] Available from: www.who.int