By staying at home, you’re doing a great thing to protect the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders. But for many of us, the spread of coronavirus and its impact on our health, loved ones, country, economy and community is consuming. We’ve gone from having a comfortable routine, to having to deal with the unique implications that come with a global pandemic.

It’s important we try to maintain our mental health and wellbeing during these trying times – and here at Engineering New Zealand, we’re going to do our best to help our members do this.

Engineering New Zealand: wellbeing resources

Here are some tips you might find helpful.

Be realistic

Remote working means all time spent commuting is cut, there are no workplace distractions, and no one is around to keep us to account – all factors that can cause us to feel pressure to be more productive. However, this probably won't be the case. What we're going through is a major transition and shock to the system – don’t underestimate the emotional load that this might bring. 

Settling into remote work and isolation will take a bit of adapting, so we need to be realistic in what we expect of ourselves. Difficulty concentrating, low motivation and a state of distraction are to be expected. But there are great resources available to help us deal with the difficulties we experience.

Read our eight tips for remote working

Read Education New Zealand’s article on helping children learn at home

Read more about working from home with children

Try to manage your stress threshold

It’s important to lay a solid foundation for mental health and wellbeing daily. Make sure you:

  • Eat nutritious meals
  • Make a conscious effort to connect with others
  • Maintain good sleep hygiene (by keeping your routine of sleep and wake times)
  • Exercise. 

By being told to stay home, it's likely activity levels will decrease – but try and make exercise a priority. It helps lower your stress levels, helps us to better regulate our emotions and improve your sleep. 

Article: strengthen your resilience to stress

Read the Mental Health Foundation’s top tips to get through

Keep in routine and find joy

Routine can be a great help with managing anxiety. It can also help us figure out how to navigate this new virtual world – both physically and mentally. Make a good workday routine, then during your lunch breaks, after work, and in the weekend – find something to do that will bring you joy. Embrace the small things in life. Get excited about your daily walk, look forward to dinner, appreciate baking with your kids, really enjoy downtime watching your favourite TV series. Take pleasure in the small things and find joy in each day. 

Read the Ministry of Health’s article on wellbeing tips to help you feel good

Be compassionate

At the moment, a lot is out of our control. So it's important to be compassionate to yourself. Try and practice positive self-talk, as no doubt, there will be overwhelming moments where consuming thoughts like “it's too much,” or “I can't do it” take over. Be compassionate to yourself. It's wildly unrealistic that we'll be the best versions of ourselves throughout this. Ask for help when you need it. 

Read information from Anxiety New Zealand

It's equally important to show compassion to others, whether that be your colleagues or team members who may not be 'performing', or your kids, who are struggling to stay focused on home-school work. This situation isn't easy for any of us. Show compassion and try and figure out a way to help. 

Keep in touch

We may be in social isolation, but this doesn’t mean we need to feel alone. One of the fortunate is that we have the power of the internet. Stay connected and reach out to those in your life who could be particularly isolated. A simple act like a phone call or text to someone can be a massive help. 

We’re all human and need a sense of connection. It's good for our mental as well as our physical health. Virtual forums, which for many of us are now a regular part of our working day, are a great way to stay connected. Teams are doing things like virtual online drinks, which is a great way to keep some normality and keep up the positivity. 

If you were receiving help for your mental health prior to Covid-19, continue this. The New Zealand Mental Health Foundation also have free counsellors available to help anyone who needs to talk during this time.

Find out more from the Mental Health Foundation

Read our tips for staying social

Manage uncertainty by staying in the present

Take each day as it comes and focus on the things you can control. Stay in the present. Take a break from scanning online news outlets and reading worrisome articles. This might even be a good time to start practising mindfulness and meditation – both great ways to help keep level-headed throughout these extraordinary times.

Headspace: resource for employers – meditation and mindfulness for employees

Health Navigator NZ: how mindfulness supports wellbeing five easy meditation practices that even beginners can master

Mentemia app led by Sir John Kirwin

Where to get help

Need to talk? 1737 Free call or text 24/7

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633

Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)

Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

Samaritans: 0800 726 666

If it is an emergency and you feel you or someone else is at risk, call 111