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HealthInfo Canterbury

Wellbeing during COVID-19

COVID-19 is making most people feel an increased sense of threat. This feeling can vary between people. You might be experiencing:

It's important to know that it's normal to feel like this. It's understandable when there's a real threat to people's health and financial security.

The problem is when these feelings become overwhelming. The "threat" part of our nervous system (the sympathetic nervous system) takes over. This makes you feel constantly on edge.

Unfortunately, feeling like this doesn't help. It just makes you feel miserable. If you have children, your worry will rub off on them and make them anxious as well.

There are many things you can do to bring back a sense of control over your life. Doing this activates the "calm down" part of our nervous system (the parasympathetic nervous system). It also helps to reduce your feeling of "threat".

The following resources offer helpful tips about how to maintain wellbeing in your bubble. Try the techniques and online resources. If you're still struggling to get on top of stress or anxiety, calling your GP is a good place to start. You can also phone or text 1737 for free any time to speak to a trained counsellor.

All right? Getting through together campaign

Getting through together covers all areas of COVID-19 wellbeing. It includes information about how to speak to children and has ideas for activities. It also has links to online mental health resources.

Occupational Therapy New Zealand (OTNZ) - Activity toolkit

OTNZ has produced a toolkit with ideas to stay occupied during COVID-19. It includes links to reviewed and approved physical activity and wellbeing resources.

Stay active

Green Prescription is offering free one-on-one phone and video consultations about physical activity, motivation and sustainable lifestyle changes for anyone over 16. The service is for anyone in Canterbury, South Canterbury or the West Coast who needs help getting motivated during these difficult times. Phone (03) 373-5057 or 0800-22-84-83.

Green Prescription is also running virtual Be Active education sessions. See the Green Prescription Facebook group for details.

There are lots of online resources that can support you exercising at home. Try to look for one that's aimed at your level of physical ability. This exercise sheet from Exercise as Medicine NZ has some simple safe exercises that anyone can do at home. Exercise as Medicine NZ's resources page also has exercise videos and other useful resources.

Eat well

Food is still readily available during the lockdown. It's a great opportunity to look at how you and your whānau/family are eating. You can try to make some positive changes that you can carry forward. See Eating well during self-isolation from the Canterbury DHB Specialist Mental Health Service dietitians.

Manage financial stress

If you're suffering financial stress because of COVID-19, talk to your bank. You can also get advice from Ministry of Social Development and on the New Zealand Government COVID-19 website.


Family harm, including physical violence, sexual violence and emotional abuse has increased since the lockdown. If you feel unsafe, see Family harm for information and advice about how to get help.

Phone 111 if you or someone else is in danger of immediate harm.

You can also phone the Family Services 211 Helpline on 0800-211-211. It can help you find, and transfer you to, community-based health and social support services in your area.

  HealthInfo recommends the following videos

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created April 2020.

See also:


Caring for yourself at home with COVID-19

Health care during COVID-19

Healthy eating & weight

Helplines for mental health issues

Keeping active

Mental wellbeing

What can I do to cope with stress?

Page reference: 738312

Review key: HICOV-710714