Stress Management for Covid-19

Sue Dodsworth – Graduate Practitioner

Our lives have changed dramatically over the last few weeks with the Covid-19 pandemic and now lockdown. Many of us are experiencing heightened levels of stress and anxiety. What do you do to help you cope? If you have any great resources or links, please add them to the comments in our Facebook post. 

  • Remember managing our stress levels can help boost our immunity too.

Staying connected

As we practise self-isolation to keep us all safe, it is important that we still stay connected. Check out your local neighbourly website ( or your suburb’s Facebook page. Keep in contact with your family, friends and neighbours using Skype, messenger, email, text or phone and make sure they are doing ok.

Short self-care ideas

Your self-care activities don’t have to be very long but are important to include in your daily routine

  • Sit out in the sun for 15 minutes
  • Listen to 3-4 of your favourite songs
  • Watch something funny on Facebook or YouTube
  • Practise  calming breathing techniques such as the 4,7,8 method (breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7 and exhale for a count of 8)

Longer self-care ideas

Practise mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practise of being present in the moment and bringing your attention to your thoughts, sensations and feelings that are occurring in the here and now. It is common for thoughts to wander as one begins to practise meditation – don’t worry, just check in with yourself and bring your thoughts and feelings back to your current here and now. The practise of meditation enhances mindfulness and research shows it reduces stress and anxiety and improves resilience.

Mobile apps for mindfulness practises

  • Smiling Mind – free mindfulness meditation app to help you bring balance to your life manage stress and daily challenges. You can find out more here:
  • Headspace – This app has a free “Weathering the Storm” program available to help support everyone and includes a number of carefully chosen calming meditations, help with sleep and movement exercises. You can find out more here
  • Calm. This app has also released a carefully curated selection of meditations including soothing meditations, sleep meditations and sleep stories, calming meditations for adults and children. You can find out more here:

Colouring in for adults

Did you enjoy colouring in as a child? Research has shown it can help reduce anxiety and stress. Why not try some of these?


Keeping a journal is a simple easy and effective strategy for improving wellbeing and reducing stress and anxiety. It allows us to express how we are feeling and organise our thoughts so we stop ruminating and overthinking about what is worrying us.

Tips for starting

  • Find a quiet private space to write for a few minutes every day
  • Choose your own format – it could be free-flowing or bullet points

Helpful prompts: 

  • Check-in with yourself and how you are feeling
  • Reflect on what happened during the day

Practise Gratitude

Practising gratitude helps improve our sense of positivity and optimism and makes us more aware of the things others do for us. 

Why not try to:

  • Find 5 things you are grateful for today
  • Keep a gratitude diary
  • Tell someone how much you appreciate them
  • Notice the beauty in nature

Healthy habits 

Remember to eat well whilst on lockdown- drinking lots of water, eating fresh fruit and veg, including quality sources of fats and proteins.

Keep exercising: Go for a walk or jog around the block, join an online fitness group. Les mills have teamed up with TVNZ to put on some free to air classes (

Sleep well. Restful sleep helps us cope with life’s challenges. Keeping to our usual bed and rising times with a wind-down period before going to sleep can help.

More Resources