Managing COVID-19 within your household

mum and teen wearing masks indoors

With the highly transmissible Omicron variant causing case numbers to rise across Australia, more and more families are managing a positive case in their home. This can be a confusing and unsettling experience for young people and adults alike. Whether you’ve got COVID yourself or you’re caring for someone who does, you can use the tips below to help manage isolation and recovery in your household.

Plan ahead

Having open discussions with your whole household will ensure that everyone is on the same page and able to share their ideas, thoughts and feelings about what could work best for your family.

A household plan that maps out things like where in the house someone could isolate, helpful contacts young people can call on if their parents are in isolation, and how shared spaces will be managed, can reduce anxiety by allowing each family member to think about what isolation could look like for them.

If you have the means, putting together a little iso-kit with things like painkillers and household essentials can be useful to help your family feel prepared. Include extended family, friends and neighbours in your plan if you think you’ll need some extra support in getting food or medical items delivered to your door.

Take a moment

It might come as a shock when someone in your household tests COVID positive – including if it’s you. It’s natural to feel unsettled and to be concerned for the health of your family and yourself. Each person in your household might feel and respond differently to the situation, so it’s important that everyone has all the time and information they need to process it.

If someone in your household is positive, you can support them by getting information about COVID from verified sources, by listening to and acknowledging the person’s feelings, and by including them in all household discussions (via text, phone call or video call if they’re isolated from the rest of the house) so that they know you’re present and available to them and ready to act on their behalf. This will help to minimise their sense of isolation and any tendency to imagine worst-case scenarios.

If you’re the one who has tested positive, let your household know what they can do to help you. You can also reach out to your GP or to the Coronavirus hotline if you have questions or are concerned about symptoms.

Try to lighten the mood

Returning a positive result can be stressful. Whether you’re unwell yourself or caring for a sick member of your household, you can lighten the mood a little by creating fun activities that can provide some distraction and joy.

You might want to try some of these:

  • Talk with friends and family via video calls.

  • Learn a new skill to surprise your family with once isolation is over.

  • Play online games together from different rooms.

  • Rearrange a room to create a new space – a change can be as good as a holiday.

  • Turn your isolation time into a mini vacation – read that book you’ve been trying to find time for, binge that TV series you’ve been meaning to watch, pamper yourself with home-style spa treatments.

  • Relax with ASMR videos.

  • Host a family movie marathon with Teleparty so you can watch in sync from different rooms.

Check in regularly

Check in with how everyone in the house is feeling each day and stay connected with those who are isolating by sharing video calls. Help family members to create variety and balance in their day, and avoid having everyone’s screen-time spiral, by encouraging them to spend time on a range of activities that provide different types of engagement. These could include reading a book, practising a craft, or trying a new type of home-based exercise.

Make sure to check in with yourself each day as well. Whether you’re caring for others in your household or monitoring your own symptoms, it’s important that you take the time to listen to your needs. Ensure you’re eating well, getting enough sleep and making time for things you enjoy in your day. You can also take our self-care quiz to figure out what type of self-care suits you.

Seek help

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or concerned about what’s happening in your household, seek help. Call a friend, a family member or your GP if you have concerns and questions you want to discuss.