Mental Health

In these times of uncertainty and with so much change to our everyday lives, it is normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed, especially if you are living with a lung condition.

Mental Health

In a bid to stop or slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Australian Government introduced social distancing measures, encouraging people to practice good hand hygiene and avoid large gatherings and close physical contact. These measures are crucial, however they will change the way we live our lives. Lung Foundation Australia Lung Cancer Support Nurse, Nicole Parkinson sat down to share her tips and advice for people living with a lung disease or lung cancer to look after your physical and mental health and stay connected with your loved ones during this time.

Clinical Psychologist Debra Sandford, joined us for the first webinar in our Understanding COVID-19 series. This webinar discussed the importance of emotional wellbeing during COVID-19.

Watch the recording to find out more practical ideas for looking after your mental health and managing challenges whilst navigating through this time of change and physical distance (Run time 1hr 5 mins).

Lung Foundation Australia, in collaboration with Clinical Psychologist Debra Sandford, have created a downloadable guide for people living with lung disease and lung cancer. Download here. 

“A big “well done” for the Webinar session with Debra Sandford. It was a great source of information and comfort in these COVID-19 days. I found myself feeling encouraged, supported and more in control.” – Jo, living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Self-care

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has brought about uncertainty for many. With constant messages shared about restrictions, reducing the spread of the virus and staying at home, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the situation and lose sight of maintaining your mental and physical wellbeing.

Self-care means looking after your own physical, mental and emotional health. Self-care can take many shapes and forms. It doesn’t need to take up a lot of time or cost a lot of money.

Here are some tips adapted from the SANE Australia website for engaging in your own self-care.

  • If you start to feel overwhelmed distract yourself by reading a book, watching a tv show or attending to your garden.
  • Stay in touch with family and friends who encourage and support you through the telephone or online via video calls or social media.
  • Establish a connection with an activity you enjoy – reading, cooking, listening to music, walking or sitting in the outdoors are simple ways to start.
  • Think about ways to look after your physical health, prioritise sleep and aim to make healthy food choices.
  • Build exercise that best works for you into your daily routine – it is great for your health and stress relief. You could try a home exercise program such as Lung Foundation Australia’s Maintaining Movement series or look for physical activities that you can do around your home to help maintain your fitness, such as cleaning or gardening.
  • Talking about your feelings to a trusted friend can help you feel supported. You could telephone them or use more modern means, such as Zoom or Facetime, so you can see each other’s faces.
  • Try to identify your stress indicators, such as short temper, withdrawal from friends and family, feeling overwhelmed or drained.
  • Know that it is okay to be gentle with yourself and to take things slowly. Take time to consider how you might spend some time today that will help you to feel calmer or happier.
  • Seek help for yourself if you need to talk.  You can start with a Helpline service or speak with your GP. Most GPs are now offering telehealth appointments, which means you can telephone or video call your GP from the comfort of your own home.

Download our self-care planning template which may assist you to manage your well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Support for those experiencing financial hardship

As the ongoing spread of the coronavirus continues to affect the global economy, many Australians may find themselves in financial instability. If you are experiencing financial hardship, the National Debt Helpline offers free financial counselling. Call 1800 007 007.

The Australian Government have developed resources and services to help Australians affected by COVID-19. Find out more here.

Seek support

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or stressed by news of the outbreak. People with pre-existing mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms.

We also encourage people to:

  • Activate your support network
  • Acknowledge feelings of distress
  • Seek professional support early if you’re having difficulties.

If you need to talk to someone, reach out to a support service such as Lifeline on 13 11 14, who provide 24-hour support to listen to how you are feeling and offer you information and advice. 

Beyond Blue COVID-19 support service now available
Beyond Blue have developed a range of information, strategies and expert advice to help support your social and emotional wellbeing during the pandemic. Whether it's talking to your kids about COVID-19, coping with losing your job or advice for staying connected, Beyond Blue cover a range of practical topics and options to connect to support in
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