Stories from young people living through the coronavirus pandemic

Learn about how the youth of Australia are living their lives during the coronavirus pandemic.

We've borrowed this content from ReachOut - Australia's leading online mental health organisation for young people and their parents - with their permission. You can find the original article here. Check out more of their full range of practical support, tools and tips at ReachOut.com and ReachOut.com/Parents.

It can be hard to know how to cope with the COVID-19 situation, as it’s unlike anything we’ve dealt with before. Sometimes, it takes a little creativity and thinking outside the box. These young people shared what’s helped them get by and stay well.

Etcetera Etcetera aka Oliver, 22, NSW

I ask myself, ‘What am I going to do to make sure everyone feels like they have someone to talk to?’ and ‘How can I still be visible in people’s lives to remain connected?

I went from performing 4–5 times a week as a drag queen, to losing all my gigs within a week. I relied on it for my income, but it was also a huge part of my lifestyle.

I’ve been sitting at home trying to think of ways to connect with my community. So far, I’ve been doing  live drag shows on Instagram and I’m collaborating with  Heaps Gay  for a live drag makeup tutorial. This makes me feel a bit more connected with people — especially as I can see my audience’s reactions in real time.

I’m also collecting a bunch of thoughts and images from other queer people to create online resources and a zine. It’s way better than doing nothing, as it gives me a sense of purpose. I ask myself, ‘What am I going to do to make sure everyone feels like they have someone to talk to?’ and ‘How can I still be visible in people’s lives to remain connected?’

Kody, 18, NSW

I think it’s so important to stay active, even going for a short walk or doing some stretching. It really helps you cope.

I own my own personal training business, but since the gym has shut down, I’m out of regular work. At first, it was really stressful, but I’ve been more relaxed the past couple of days.

I’ve put my clients onto a home-based program, and I make sure I do the workouts, too. I think it’s so important to stay active, even going for a short walk or doing some stretching. It really helps you cope.

There’s not much I can do to change the situation, but I can control my perspective and how I deal with it. I also make sure to talk to people; it’s such a relief to know that others are going through the same stuff as I am.

Zoe, 24, VIC

Community connection is the main thing that got us through the bushfires and I think it applies now, too, even with physical distancing.

I lived through the bushfires earlier this year, so I feel like I have the tools to manage my mental health and get through this, too. Community connection is the main thing that got us through the bushfires and I think it applies now, too, even with physical distancing.

I’ve found that gaming has helped me a lot — it’s soothing for my anxiety and mental health. That might seem strange, seeing as I’m playing games where I shoot zombies or get bandicoots to break boxes, but the distraction it provides is so helpful. I’m also playing a game right now that has graphics so realistic that it’s almost like being outside.

Apart from that, I’ve been trying to help others. I’m creating resource guides with good news stories to support the community. It makes people feel heard. There’s a lot of uncertainty and fear right now, which is a normal response in a situation like this. We need to focus on the things we can control and remember that this, too, will pass.

Ethan, 22, QLD

I thought developing a new skill would be good for me, so I started playing basketball by myself.  Doing this in the morning helps to loosen my mind up a bit.

When all of this was first going down, I honestly thought it was the end of the world. It was quite overwhelming. I went into survival mode – do I have food and shelter; is my family okay?

It was interesting to see how quickly my mindset shifted. I work in hospitality, so my hours have been cut and heaps of my friends have lost their jobs. That’s had a big effect on me.

I thought developing a new skill would be good for me, so I started playing basketball by myself. You can easily see when you’re improving, by counting how many hoops you get. Doing this in the morning helps to loosen my mind up a bit.

Lauren, 27, TAS

I’ve found that Instagram and TikTok are a light-hearted source of entertainment — I especially love the memes. It’s great to see some humour even in times of crisis.

I work as a tour guide in Tassie, and when this all started happening, my shifts started getting shorter and shorter as a lot of guests were cancelling. Then, last Friday, my work announced they were closing completely.

It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve found that Instagram and TikTok are a light-hearted source of entertainment — I especially love the memes. It’s great to see some humour even in times of crisis. I’ve even tried my hand at making a few TikTok videos myself!

I’ve been having some time without my phone each day, reading in the sun and colouring in. I also make sure I do some life admin (like applying for jobs and calling banks) so I can stay on top of things and feel productive.

Chloe, 19, SA

I decided to start gratitude journaling each night. It helps me put things in perspective... it’s really grounding and makes me feel calmer and more optimistic.

I feel like the whole coronavirus situation happened really fast, and the news and social media around it is so intense. It was all I talked about with friends and I became pretty anxious.

I decided to start gratitude journaling each night. It helps me put things in perspective and makes me realise that in the scheme of things, my life’s pretty good. It’s really grounding and makes me feel calmer and more optimistic.

I write down three things I am grateful for — they can be little things, like the dinner I had, or bigger things, like the doctors and nurses who are working so hard for our community right now. Doing this gives me a moment to sit with my feelings and turn confusing ones into clear and productive ones.


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