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The emergence of the global Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, and the current impact of the highly contagious delta-strain of this virus, is causing immense disruption, stress and upheaval to almost every aspect of our society and community. It is becoming increasingly clear that the impacts of a prolonged ‘lockdown’ in a community are serious, wide-ranging, and potentially long-lasting(1).

Some key tips to improve mental wellbeing in the pandemic
  • maintain a structure to the day: when many hours of the day are spent indoors and online, it is easy to lose track of time and forget to stick to a healthy daily sleep and wake cycle. It is, for example, tempting to sleep-in when possible, or to go to bed very late when one does not need to get up early in the morning, eg. to get to school. It is thus very important to maintain an optimal and consistent structure through the day, by getting up and ready at a sensible time, sticking to regular meal-times, and preparing for bed at a sensible time.
  • ensure a healthy, regular sleep pattern: how well one sleeps is very important in setting-up for a successful, productive following day. How to stick to a healthy sleep routine is explored in detail in a separate article available on this portal.
  • maintain regular exercise and healthy eating habits: Keeping fit, doing regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy body-weight has never been more important than in this time of extended ‘lock-down’. Though gyms, sports clubs etc. are currently closed, it is still relatively easy to do regular exercise and fitness routines. Getting outside for exercise is, of course, one of the permitted reasons to leave the home, during the restrictions, and is especially for young people who may be spending many hours in the day looking at a computer screen for their schoolwork. Whilst walking outdoors is preferable to no exercise at all, for this to have a significant benefit on both physical and mental well-being, the exercise has to be intense and tiring – it has to leave you breathless and with an increased heart-rate.
  • keep connected, in positive ways: here, the internet can play an important role, by connecting us with friends, with school teachers during online learning, and with other community members. Having a strong and active social network is one of the key factors in resilience and in mental wellbeing.
  • seek help and support if needed: school counsellors will be able to assist, if one’s mental health is suffering and/or stress levels are high. They will also be able to make an initial assessment as to the severity of the distress in the student, and be able to assist if referral to an external health practitioner, such as a clinical psychologist, is required. Your GP will also be able to assist you with referrals and support pathways.



(1) Statement on the second meeting of the International Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of novel cornovirus (2019-nCoV). WHO: 30 Jan, 2020.

(2) Mastens A., Barnes A. Resilience in Children: developmental perspectives. PMC Children 2018. 5(7): 98-110

(3) Oh D.L., et al. Systematic review of pediatric health outcomes associated with childhood adversity. BMC Pediatrics. 2018. 18:83

(4) Beyond Blue Ltd. Building resilience in children aged 0-12. A practice guide (2017)

(5) Alvord M. K., Grados J. J. Enhancing resilience in children: A proactive approach. Professional Psychology: research and practice. 2005. 36(3):238-245

(6) Dunton G. et al. Early effects of the Covod-19 pandemic on physical activity and sedentary behaviour in children living in the U.S. BMC Public Health. 2020. 20:1351

(7) Jones B., et al. COVID-19 pandemic: The impact on vulnerable children and young people in Australia. J of Paediatrics and Child Health. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpc.15169

(8) Inquiry Report: Mental Health. Australian Government: Productivity Commission. No. 95, June 2020