As Australians start to take mass social isolation measures in a bid to reduce the rate of infection of COVID-19, we expect a considerable number of people to experience mental health difficulties including emotional disturbance, lowered mood, irritability and difficulty sleeping.

As we make adjustments in our daily lives, it is normal to feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster. Here are five tips for managing this emotional rollercoaster.

1. Acknowledge how you are feeling

Rather than trying to avoid feeling a certain way, it is important to check in each morning on how you are feeling, identify those emotions and accept them by reminding yourself that these are likely to be a normal response to these uncertain times. It may be helpful for us all to anticipate that our emotions will continue to change over time as the coronavirus pandemic evolves.

2. Limit exposure to news

Stay informed but be careful what you consume. Set limits for TV news, social media or radio, and be careful about phone calls where the only topic of conversation is the pandemic.

3. Establish daily routines

We spoke last week about establishing sleep routines, so try applying the same consistency to exercise (30 minutes of exercise has been found to boost mood) and diet (boredom while at home can lead to increased snacking and alcohol consumption – so stay disciplined). Check out the routine from our head of strength and conditioning Sean Murphy for workout inspiration.

4. Reflect on previous challenges

Identify times in the past where you have coped well with stress and anxiety and use those experiences to guide you to move forward with confidence.

5. Connect with others

Plenty of people are likely to be experiencing this emotional rollercoaster just like you, so it’s important to stay connected. If you are feeling anxious or low, try speaking to a trusted friend or family member about it. A variety of social networking video apps are making it increasingly easy to reach out and connect virtually with multiple family members or groups of friends/teammates at the same time - try to organise a virtual coffee this week.

If Essendon people are struggling with their mental health, there are online interventions that previously cost money and have been made available free throughout this period, such as: