Resilience during a disease outbreak

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The constant news media coverage and warnings about COVID-19 may cause us to worry about our own and our family’s health and safety. While it is perfectly normal to be concerned, there are steps you can take to be prepared to cope should your community be affected.
  • Get the facts
    Having the facts and understanding the potential threat is the best defence.
  • Develop a plan
    Being prepared to respond can greatly lessen your anxiety.
  • Manage your anxiety
    To manage anxiety and fear, try to put the potential threat or current events in context by keeping a broader, more hopeful perspective.

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to effectively cope with challenging life situations. A person who is resilient is able to cope with crisis situations due to behaviour, thoughts, and actions that they have learned and developed.

Tips for building resilience
  • Keep a positive outlook.
    Having an optimistic attitude can help you focus on the good things in your life, rather than worrying about things you may not be able to control.
  • Develop realistic goals and take decisive action.
    By having a plan, you can focus on specific tasks. By keeping yourself busy, your mind will be occupied, having less time to dwell on worries and fears. This might include ensuring you have a supply of food, water, or medicine.
  • Control stress by managing your worries.
    Intense worrying about what might happen can trigger our body’s automatic fight-or-flight stress response. Over time, this physical response to stress takes its toll on our bodies. Consider finding effective ways of managing stress.
  • Quarantine the worry.
    Create a regular half hour each day as “worry time” to identify and tackle each worry as if it were a problem to solve.
  • Learn from your past.
    Think back to past experiences and sources of personal strength that helped you through other crisis situations.
  • Stay connected.
    The fear of infection may mean avoiding social situations and increased isolation. However you can still maintain contact with people, by phone or online.
  • Keep physically fit. 
    It is important to exercise your body and stretch out tense muscles as well as finding time for relaxation. Eat a healthy diet and make sure you get enough sleep.

If intense anxiety is preventing you from performing your job or other daily activities, consider contacting a professional for counselling support. They can provide you with the knowledge, guidance, and peace of mind on how to cope during a crisis situation to ensure that you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe. Look after yourselves.