5 Steps to better Wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak
Infectious disease outbreaks can be scary and may affect our mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during such times.
Here are some tips we hope will help you, your friends and your family to look after your mental health at a time when there is much discussion of potential threats to our physical health.
1. Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing while you have to spend more time at home
The Singapore government is advising us to avoid gatherings and events and to try to stay at home and only go outside to attend school or for food, health reasons or for essential work. To try to stay one to two metres (minimum 1 metre in public) away from other people and to wash our hands regularly with soap and water.
This will mean that outside of school more of us will be spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities will no longer be available to us. It will help to try and see it as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it.
It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others outside of school in different ways than usual. Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.
Create a new daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. You could try reading more or watching movies, having an exercise routine, eating a balanced diet, trying new relaxation techniques, or finding new knowledge on the internet. Try and rest and view this as a new if unusual experience, that might have its benefits.
2. Avoid speculation and look up reputable and reliable sources on the outbreak
Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control.
You can get up-to-date information and advice on the virus here:
We also suggest that you download the TraceTogether app on your mobile phone, visit the website above or scan the QR code below.
Follow hygiene advice such as washing your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds with soap and hot water (sing ‘happy birthday’ to yourself twice to make sure you do this for 20 seconds). You should do this whenever you get home or into school, blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food. If you can’t wash your hands straightaway, use hand sanitiser and then wash them at the next opportunity. You should also use tissues if you sneeze and make sure you dispose of them quickly; and stay at home and wear a mask if you are feeling unwell.
3. Try to stay connected.
At times of stress, we feel and work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends and family, both in Singapore and overseas, by telephone, email or social media, or contact your teacher or school counselor should you need someone to talk to. Stay in touch with friends on social media but try not to sensationalise things. If you are sharing content, use this from trusted sources, and remember that your friends might be worried too. Also remember to regularly assess your social media activity. Tune in with yourself and ask if they need to be adjusted. Are there particular accounts or people that are increasing your worry or anxiety? Consider muting or unfollowing accounts or hashtags that cause you to feel anxious.
4. Try not to make assumptions
Don’t judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The Coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of ethnicity or nationality.
5. Manage how you follow the outbreak in the media
There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak. If you find that the news is causing you huge stress, it’s important to find a balance. It’s best that you don’t avoid all news and that you keep informing and educating yourself, but limit your news intake if it is bothering you.