A psychologists’ tips on coping with the Corona Virus

It seems the impact of the Corona virus is being seen, felt and experienced everywhere right now. I’ve given some thoughts on things to do to cope at this time.

  1. Prioritising physical and emotional health (we know that stress affects our immune system and therefore managing it helps improve our ability to fight off viruses and recover quicker)
  2. limiting exposure to media including the sources you are paying attention to – not every opinion given is an educated or informed one.
  3. Focussing on the things you can control: preparing a budget, cutting out non essential spending for the time being and taking pro-active measures if you are expecting a drop in income (e.g., talking to financial hardship departments of various companies)
  4. maintaining an others’ focus – this helps decrease a sense of fear and anxiety and fosters community and resilience.

I hope you find these useful. Feel free to add your own in the comments below.


Hi, it’s Dr Jamie here. I wanted to talk to you this afternoon about the Corona virus. It seems everywhere you go, everywhere you look at the moment, signs, and impacts of the virus, can be seen, and felt.

Certainly in my lifetime, it’s the first time, that we’ve seen such drastic measures taken, by the government, with the aim to really protect the community, as, as much as possible and to, contain the spread of the virus and to decrease the impact on the healthcare system. I want to talk about some of the things that I’m doing at this time and some of the things that I’m encouraging other people to do in the hope that it might be helpful for, people out there.

By and large, I am carrying on, for the moment business as usual.

But of course being guided by advice, from the department of health, which is, quite dynamic and ever changing. And so really looking to, focus on emotional and physical health at this time. We know, that, stress does impact on our immune system, our body’s ability to fight off, viruses, bacteria disease. And so making sure that we get enough exercise, proper nutrition, sleep making time for leisure, laughter, and gratitude.

Something that I’m doing, is going for a daily walk, we’ve had a run of really good weather up in Melbourne at the moment, which doesn’t happen too often. So getting out in the sunshine too does wonders,

Secondly, trying not to buy into the hysteria. As I mentioned before that there really is lots of information out there, particularly on social media.

And so recognizing that not all of the opinions out there, are necessarily informed, opinions. By and large, the grocery shopping, side of things. I’m just doing my usual weekly shop. It is a little bit more difficult getting some of the items these days with, people stock piling and stocking up but, for myself I’m just kinda going week to week.

And thirdly, focusing on things that we can control. So there is a lot of uncertainty, and, and some things that really, that we can not control at this time. So as a small business owner, thinking about the possibility of impacts to income, in, in the coming months.

And so one of the things that I’ve done is to, really take a look at, budgeting and expenses. What are the upcoming, fixed expenses I have and is there a way, that I can reduce or eliminate unnecessary expenses for the time being? Obviously I’m a psychologist, not a financial advisor or accountant, but you know, these are steps that I’m taking, in my business. We know, of course that many companies, for instance, electric companies, mobile, water companies banks, they all have hardship departments too.

So for, people that are in small business, or people that may be casually employed or anyone that, may have, quite a significant impact to their finances. really being able to communicate that, and, and being able to, proactively problem solve, some of the difficulties that might come, if, if there’s an impact to your income, over the coming months.

And, and lastly, really trying to, maintain consideration for other people. I think, one of the things that can happen, when we become anxious and fearful, is we become quite egocentric. We often focus on ourselves, and, forget, to always be mindful about, our neighbours or other people in the community, that might be struggling.

I’ve been really encouraged by, some of the things that I’ve seen on social media. Some of the, calls to arms that people have put up, asking if people have specific needs, specific grocery items. someone, a friend of mine had had a dog and said, if anyone wants puppy cuddles, let me know. I’ll be, over and so really thinking about, what are the practical things that I can do, to help other people out there, at this current time, one of the things that happens when we foster community, it, it really reduces a sense of fear and anxiety and isolation.

So I hope these tips have been helpful. Undoubtedly you may have some of your own as well, so feel free to drop them in the comments below, and, I look forward to speaking to you all again very soon.

Dr Jamie Barnier

About Dr Jamie

I’m a Clinical Psychologist based in Melbourne who helps adolescents and adults cope with overwhelming emotions and remove the need to numb negative feelings through food, alcohol, sex or drugs. I focus on addressing the root cause of the problem with the goal of creating happiness, peace and lasting change.

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