Managing Self-Isolation: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Managing Self-Isolation: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

1 Apr 2020

We have all heard from governments globally about the need for self-isolation or self-quarantine (these terms are used inter-changeably) in reducing the spread of COVID-19. We acknowledge there are challenges related to social isolation, such as not being able to be with loved ones, reduced income and sense of freedom, loneliness, anger, increased stress and uncertainty about the future. These tips aim to support you while you and/or your family self-isolate.

What is self-isolation?

For most of us, self-isolating at home or in a hotel room is to help reduce the spread and likelihood of contracting COVID-19. For others it will be compulsory they self-isolate for 14 days if:

  • they have COVID-19,
  • they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or
  • they arrived in Australia from overseas.

Self-isolating: Tips for you

Seek out the facts
Practice self-care
  • Permit yourself to acknowledge and state what and how you are feeling. You can do this by expressing your feelings creatively through painting, dance, music, drawing. You can also chat with others, write in a journal, yoga, listen to music, meditation, read a book, and or practice mindfulness.
  • Take care of your body: Maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular physical exercise (walking around the backyard, Youtube yoga or dance), sleep, rest and good nutrition. Avoid illicit drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.
  • Maintain your routine even if you have lost your job, get out of bed and your PJ’s, shower, take breaks to relax, and continue with the activities you enjoy (e.g. read a book, continue to study, do exercise at home, etc.)
  • Connect with your supportive network of friends and family – remember this does not need to happen face to face, call your friends or family, use Facetime or Skype.
  • Seek help if you are having problems – don't be afraid to ask for help, everyone has stressful times.
  • Take breaks from news stories, including social media. Constantly checking your media can increase your stress/anxiety.
  • See this as an opportunity to try something new like testing out that recipe, declutter, get to those jobs you have been putting off, read a novel, get creative.
  • Keep everything in perspective. Practise rational thinking rather than worst-case situation. Consider:
    • Am I catastrophising the COVID-19 situation?
    • What can I control?
    • What has helped me in the past to work through difficult situations that can help me now?
    • What is a simple useful activity that I can do now?
    • Everything is shutting down, I’m panicking - think the most important places, such as hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores remain open.
    • I will get sick - think I will use good hygiene practices, self-isolate, not attend public gatherings and this will decrease me getting COVID-19.

Self-Isolating: Tips for supporting your children at home

Children will probably already have some thoughts about COVID-19

The best way to find out what your children know is to ask.

  • Use open-ended questions and be open and honest when addressing their worries and fears.
  • Talk about COVID-19 to your child/ren in age appropriate language.
  • Remain positive and hopeful when talking to your child/ren about COVID-19.
What else can I do?
  • Limit your child/ren's media and social media information about the COVID-19.
  • Maintain regular routines.
  • Focus on things your child/ren can control (e.g. good hand hygiene, teach them about social distancing, eating healthily, exercise).
  • Have fun with your child/ren by playing games together inside the home and in the backyard or be creative and build things, paint, dance to music inside.
  • Set-up play dates via video chat with friends.
  • Read a book or prepare a meal together.
  • Model being calm, this will help reduce any distress your child/ren may be feeling about COVID-19.
  • Care for yourself.
Resources to help you talk to your children

Other resources and support

  • The Australian Government Department of Health website provides the latest medical advice, symptoms, how to protect yourself and others to stop the spread, those at risk, and importantly the National corona virus helpline, 1800 020 080.
  • The World Health Organisation provides current global facts on COVID-19, myth busters, questions and answers and how protect yourself.
  • ReachOut forums provide young people with an anonymous space where they can chat with their peers.

Want to talk with some?

  • USC-Student Wellbeing are continuing to provide a free counselling service via face to face, phone or Skype to ensure we comply with the Australian Government social distancing recommendations. Contact Student Wellbeing via or 07 5430 1226.
  • Beyond Blue provide a free telephone counselling service 24/7 days a week, call 1300 22 4636.
  • eHeadspace is a free on-line support and counselling to young people 12-25 living in Australia.
  • kids Helpline is a free telephone counselling service for children and young people aged 5-25 years, 24/7 days a week, call 1800 551 800.
  • QLife is a free telephone and on-line counselling and referral service for the LGBTIQ+. Support is offered between 3pm – midnight throughout the week, call 1800 184 527
  • Lifeline provide free phone counselling service 24/7 days a week, call 13 11 14.

In an Emergency call 000 (Triple Zero: Police, Ambulance or Fire-brigade).