Our wellbeing

When do worries become an issue?

Everyone worries, and thinking ahead can help us plan for the future and deal with upcoming situations. It is often difficult to determine when worries have become excessive. In the present situation, worries are normal. However, if worrying has become excessive and has started to control your life, e.g. if your worries cause anxiety or sleep issues, it is important to seek measures to feel better and limit the time spent on worrying.

How do I manage my worries?

Balance your everyday life. Psychologists see wellbeing as a combination of activities that spark joy and closeness and make people feel a sense accomplishment. Communication is recommended; however, new methods need to be implemented to keep the recommended distance when socialising, such as video chats and other kinds of online communication.

We must ensure that worries are reserved for real problems and not possible problems. If we worry about many possible future problems, it is important that we remind ourselves that the mind is occupied with problems we cannot solve at this time. Subsequently, it is helpful to find ways to relieve the worries and focus on something else.

Practice putting worries on hold. Worries can be relentless and cause you to feel the need to respond immediately. By practicing putting worries about possible problems on hold, you can often gain new insights and understanding in regard to your worries. In practice, it is all about taking the time daily (e.g. 15–30minutes) to think about your worries and then try to let go of such thoughts at other times.

Write down negative thoughts. A good way to reduce your worries is to write down any thoughts that are negative or which cause you anxiety and then to speculate on possible solutions.

Use mindfulness. Learning mindfulness and practicing mindfulness exercises can help to release worry and focus the mind on the present. Full attention on your breath or environmental sounds can be an anchor for directing the attention to the present and relieving worry.

Exercise. Daily exercise is vital for mental, physical and social health and wellbeing. Regular exercise is not only important for preventing numerous diseases, but it also provides mental and physical strength to engage in daily tasks and promotes better sleep patterns and rest in general.

Support relating to wellbeing

You can obtain information on entities throughout Iceland who can help you with problems relating to your wellbeing.

Useful information

The public health division of the Directorate of Health has issued these 10 guidelines for health and wellbeing. The advice has also been translated into English and Polish.

Pamphlet on how to deal with worries and anxiety in the time of COVID-19. See English version and other languages, including Polish.

Pamphlet with good advice for parents and guardians.

Information on heilsuvera.is about wellbeing, communication, loneliness and stress.

Manual on cognitive behavioural therapy, developed by Reykjalundur staff in themental health department.

Video on worries and anxiety, remedies and what to do, longer version and shorter version.

The Ministry of Social Affairs offers assistance with on-line chat and a phone number where immigrants can call during weekdays. They answer in 8 languages and it is free of charge. The service is free of charge for everyone.

If you are anxious or need counselling, you can always contact the 1717 Red Cross Helpline or Online chat.
The Red Cross has a Polish-speaking responder, both by telephone and online chat on Thursdays between 20:00 and 23:00. The service is free of charge for everyone.

Wellbeing and children

As for other age groups, the pandemic is a significant challenge. Here you can find a range of information relating to education, recreation and care during the pandemic.


·        Detailed information for parents and children may be found on the website of the Directorate of Health.

·        Information on the coronavirus for children and young people – Ombudsman for Children

·        What is the coronavirus? Ombudsman for Children

·        The coronavirus: FAQs – Ombudsman for Children

·        How do I explain the coronavirus to children? – Ombudsman for Children

·        Information on the coronavirus ineasily readable format – the National Association of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities

·        Preschools and children–  Instructions prepared by the Directorate of Health

·        Hello, my name is Corona – material for children –Guðlaug Marion Mitchison, psychologist

·        My Hero is You – a children’s book prepared by experts to read with children about the global pandemic.


·        Children with special care needs in quarantine, instructions for parents/guardians – Directorate of Health

·        Children in quarantine – Instructions and suggestions for guardians – Directorate of Health

Would you like to talk to someone?

If you need advice on COVID-19, then reach out to one or more of the options listed below to speak to a registered nurse:

After-hours clinic (Læknavaktin)

Call centre open 24/7.

Call 1700 from an Icelandic phone number or +354 544 4113 from any other phone.

Medical clinics

Calls answered during office hours


Online counselling between 9-12 and 13-22 on weekdays and 10-16 on holidays

Log in to contact your GP.

Red Cross helpline and online chat 1717 and raudikrossinn.is

  • Everyone has the right to life without violence
  • Women‘s shelter Reykjavik: 561 1205
  • Bjarkarhlíð- Reykjavik. Family justice centre for survivors of violence: 553 3000
  • Bjarmahlíð- Akureyri. Family justice centre for survivors of violence: 551 2520

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