Author: VicHealth works with health promotion experts to create a Victoria where everyone can enjoy better health and wellbeing. Last updated: 17 Jul, 2020

If you’re asking yourself ‘when will coronavirus end?’, this is for you.

Before coronavirus, could you predict next week, next month, next year or the next decade of your life?

The simple answer is no, but that didn’t stop many of us feeling that we could.  Coronavirus has shaken everything up. So, as we face our feelings of change and uncertainty, what can we learn?

 

How can we learn from coronavirus to become stronger and more resilient?

The new Life and Health Re-imagined report by a disaster resilience researcher highlights the key mental strategies you can use to feel stronger and more resilient in the face of adversity.

 

A big event like the coronavirus pandemic affects people in different ways. Some are inspired to improve their health and wellbeing, while many others will find it hard to cope.

The new research report asks, what can we learn from events like coronavirus to help us become stronger?

Here are the three main ideas from the new research report:

1. Don’t play a ‘waiting game’

The report pointed out that people who experience mass emergencies cope best if they stop ‘waiting’ for a ‘better’ time in future when life can ‘start again’. Instead, it’s best to start doing things that help you make the most of life as it is right now. For example, if you’re one of the 39 per cent of Victorians noted in the report who haven’t found the motivation to exercise during the coronavirus pandemic so far, could you start doing a small amount of exercise now rather than waiting for your gym to reopen? Learning or practising something you can manage right now, can help you start to adjust to your current reality.

 

2. Focus on what is within your control

Restrictions began, then they gradually started to ease. Now for many Victorians, they’re back again. In times like these, it helps to remember there is always something – however small – that is totally within your control. Are you one of the 56 per cent of Victorians noted in the report who have more time to cook during coronavirus restrictions? Great, cooking more at home is within your control. Better yet, you could plan to eat healthy food that suits your budget. Pick an everyday task you can control to help yourself feel more resilient.

 

3. Share and connect with your community

The report outlines the ‘five essential principles’ that disaster and trauma experts agree we can promote to help others cope with a big event like the coronavirus:

  1. safety
  2. calm
  3. hope
  4. connection to others
  5. believing in yourself

Ask yourself, how can you help the people around you feel safer, calmer, more hopeful, more connected, and to believe in themselves? Things like keeping your distance from others when you’re out walking, sending a friend a supportive message, or buying groceries for an elderly neighbour can help you show kindness while making connections and helping people feel safe. When you try to help others feel these things, you’ll help yourself feel them too.

 

So, in summary, a big event like coronavirus can help us to feel stronger when we:

  • Stop ‘waiting’ for a better time to come
  • Focus on what is within our control
  • Share and connect with our community

 

More about the research behind these suggestions

The research paper on adopting a transilient approach as we learn from coronavirus is part of our new five-part series Life and Health Re-imagined.

We're exploring how we can all create a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable community – for everyone. We’re bringing leading experts together for five weeks of ideas and discussions with the potential to change the shape of communities across Victoria.

Each week will include:

  • A new, thought-provoking article and creative imagery published after each event.
  • A live, interactive online event featuring local and international guests, and host Shelley Ware.
  • Week-long coverage and in-depth discussion of the ideas on croakey.org
  • Ongoing conversation on our social media channels.

 

Here is a time-lapse of the ideas discussed at the Life and Health Re-imagined event:

 

 

Have a coronavirus question?

For all coronavirus questions visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au or call the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) hotline on 1800 020 080.

Department of Health & Human Services graphic - We Can't Fight This Virus Alone