Since the coronavirus took hold in Australia in March, Beyond Blue has reported a 30 per cent increase in calls for mental health and wellbeing support. Your mental and emotional resilience need to be top of mind as you adapt to these unprecedented times.

As individuals, families and businesses big and small, grapple with the financial challenges of the pandemic it’s vitally important to take a proactive approach to your mental health and wellbeing. Doing this will ensure you are better equipped to face any challenges the coronavirus crisis throws your way.

It can be tempting to just bury your head and ignore problems or forge on through any emotional stresses. Yet it’s important to acknowledge your feelings during this unusual time or face physical ramifications such as increased blood pressure or insomnia in response to stress. Cultivating a positive mindset is also essential.

However, this can be easier said than done.

HR expert Sonya Motum says as fear is a natural part of human instinct, (as it protects us from danger) it takes a proactive approach to take control of any negative feelings.

“Once you’ve caught yourself in a state of fear, interrupt the negative thought and re-focus your attention to your ideal outcome. Try to envision your desired outcomes for the day ahead. What can you do today? What is possible and what could bring you joy?” she advises.

Motum says it’s also important to focus on what you are grateful for.

“Celebrate the things that bring you happiness and comfort, even being grateful for something as small as your morning coffee helps.”

Australian Psychology Society President Ros Knight suggests humans are hardwired to fear the unknown, so it’s reasonable for people to feel fear given the current situation. However, panicking should be avoided.

“If you find yourself becoming anxious about coronavirus, try to remember that medical and scientific experts are following strict protocols to contain the virus and treat those affected,” Knight says.

The mental health expert also suggests avoiding negative social posts and steering clear of doomsday discussions. Sticking to reputable news sources and facts is the best way to manage your feelings and maintain a perspective.

“Remain calm and practical and continue with your usual regime, as much as you can. Observe good hygiene habits, like washing your hands and avoiding close contact with people who are unwell, and, if it makes you feel better, wear an appropriate mask in public.”

Mental health service provider Headsup suggests everyone’s response to stress and anxiety is different. If you are concerned you or a loved one is suffering from anxiety or a depression it’s important to seek help.

Contact your doctor or local mental health service centre or call  a support service.  Lifeline 13 11 14 Beyond Blue Support Service 1300 224 636