It’s normal and human to feel anxious right now. COVID-19 presents a risk to human health and the way we live – your brain and your body are responding to that risk like they’re supposed to! It’s what’s sometimes called the “fight-or-flight” response – your body knows you might not be safe and it’s gearing you up to respond.
Unfortunately, that ‘fight-or-flight’ response doesn’t have anywhere to go right now – we’re not yet able to fight the virus and we have to respond to it not by fleeing but by staying at home. That means your brain has geared you up for battle, filling your tank with energy and adrenaline, and you’ve got nowhere to put it. Not being able to control so many things all at once causes distress. It’s natural and understandable.
The wellbeing tips will be really helpful. Connect with people who make you feel safe and loved, find things to do that help you feel in control, get some exercise, do some breathing exercises and be kind to yourself.
Call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor, anytime.
And, if you need help with your anxiety, call or email your GP and find out how they can help you.
If you live with OCD and/or anxiety, you may be feeling a huge sense of risk and responsibility – fearing that if you don’t wash their hands or clean you could spread the virus or become unwell. We also know the advice to increase hand-washing can be triggering for some people who are trying to manage their hand-washing compulsions.
While the wellbeing tips are great for everyone, here are some specific things that might help:
Yes, absolutely talk to them but don’t overdo it. Kids know there’s something big going on, and they’re likely to pick up on grown-up tensions, fear, stress and anxiety. That’s okay!
That’s a great question! Connection to culture is one of the things that helps us build and sustain good mental health, but preventing the virus does mean some changes to how we practise tikanga for now.
The Māori Health Directorate at the Ministry of Health have the following advice:
The situation has changed, and our Prime Minister has asked all New Zealanders to play our part to refrain from physical contact to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical contact is a way that COVID-19 can spread from person to person. As well as the impact on New Zealanders generally, this will have an effect on particular areas of tikanga Māori (including kawa), as we move to protect our whānau, hapū and iwi (particularly those who are more vulnerable such as our kaumātua - our koroua and kuia).
In practice, this means suspending our customs of hongi and harirū, alongside stopping kissing, hugging and other forms of close physical contact. Alternatives include, waving, smiling, head nod, or other non-physical contact greetings.
We want to acknowledge there are some marae and iwi (such as Te Âtiawa and Ngāti Kahungunu) who have made adjustments to their usual tikanga and kawa practices in response to COVID-19. We know our people will do the right thing to protect our whānau, hapū and iwi, and to manaaki manuhiri.
Our key public health messages that can assist in preventing our whānau, hapū and iwi from contracting COVID-19, include: