by Julie Holt, Cancer Information Nurse, Cancer Society Wellington

I imagine many of us had that sinking feeling of ‘here we go again’ when we heard about the latest cases of community transmission of Covid-19 in New Zealand. This news come as a shock for many when we were starting to relax.

However on our Cancer Society Helpline many people have talked to us since our first lockdown, about their ongoing background ‘discomfort’ or a low level anxiety that were weren’t quite safe yet. This uncertainty can be hard to live with and can interfere with daily living.

Now that we are on  high alert again how can we best manage our concerns?

I was inspired to read the Mental Health Foundation’s Wellbeing Tips on their website and in the recent issue of NZ Doctor magazine. These really appealed to me as a helpful framework for coping right now.

  • Give- Awhina, Think about a skill you have you could share with your whanau, offer to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbour or give a compliment to a loved one!
  • Get MovingKia Kori, Regular movement and exercise helps release tension and stress, and gives you an energy boost!
  • Stick to a RoutineWhai Mahere, It will help you get through each day and adjust to regular life when it goes back to normal
  • Relax – Mauri Tau, Find ways to rest, switch off and recharge. Reading, mindfulness, yoga and deep breathing are all great ways to unwind
  • Stay Curious- Me Whai Whakaaro, Learning new things helps to focus your mind and gives a sense of purpose.It could be learning a language, a craft or mastering a tricky recipe
  • Take Notice – Me Aro Tonu, Notice the things that make you feel good and do them more often! It could be your morning coffee, a walk around the block or playing games with your tamariki/children.
  • Connect – Thono, Keep in touch with your friends, whanau and colleagues on the phone,through social media, video chats and text.

Source: Mental Health Foundation – See their handy poster: and check out more information here

Adding to the tips above we suggest you:

  • have a good supply of reusable masks at home,
  • ensure you have a good supply of your usual medication,
  • shop normally – no need to panic buy
  • check out your supermarket’s special assistance schemes for vulnerable people. Countdown is advertising theirs again and people can register as needing priority delivery or priority assistance
  • download the NZ Covid tracer app if you haven’t already, and use it wherever the QR code is displayed
  • think about your bubble….. We know that many people found lockdown isolating last time around – have a list of people you can phone or video call for a chat, perhaps there are people in your neighbourhood you can ‘meet’ for an ‘over- the- fence’ catch up or cuppa? This won’t break your bubble but will expand it slightly.


Most importantly, stay safe


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