The outbreak of Coronavirus has impacted our lives in so many ways. With regular changes happening, it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious and stressed. Following government advice, we have all encouraged to stay at home to flatten the curve. Social distancing and strict hygiene practice are reinforced to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
While it’s crucial to practice social distancing and self-isolation, it may result in social loneliness as face-to-face interaction has been restricted significantly over the past few weeks. We are social beings; therefore, loneliness and sadness can occur as a result.
It’s more important now than ever to take care of your mental health and wellbeing in challenging times like these. We share our top tips to help you stay healthy, happy and connected during self-isolation.
Being mindful in what you do and pay attention to the present moment will help cultivate your sense of being. The practice of mindfulness has been proven to help overcome anxiety, stress and loneliness especially during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to be complicated or intensive. You can incorporate mindfulness into everything you do. Practice mindful eating by taking the time to eat your meals without any distraction, sit down properly to eat and enjoy your foods.
Practice mindful breathing can benefit you in the long run. Breathe slowly and extend your breaths on exhalation can help calm your parasympathetic nervous system and cultivate a sense of inner peace. Notice how you breathe a bit faster when you’re nervous. Try to slow your breath down and count your breath from one to five to calm your mind.
Practice mindful thinking to help cope with negative feelings. When your emotions are rising, and getting out of control, acknowledge them without reaction. Take your time to express your feelings through journaling, painting, or talking to others if you need help.
Have a healthy and balanced diet
Keeping a healthy diet may help boost your immune system to help fight COVID-19. Include lots of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grain and healthy protein in your daily diet. Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day and avoid taking in too much caffeine from coffee or black tea. Opt for herbal tea such as peppermint tea to help with digestion, chamomile tea to you sleep better. For tips on nutrition and healthy diet, check out our nutrition blogs.
Take this time to re-connect with your friends and families during self-isolation. You can learn how to use new technology to keep in touch with your loved ones. Apps like Zoom or Skype allow you to virtually call and connect with others anytime of the day. If you’re active on Facebook, use Messenger to chat or play games with your friends. Take the time to write a good old-fashioned letter to your best friend that you haven’t connected in years.
Staying active can be as simple as taking a short walk around your backyard, gardening, cleaning your home environment, knitting and cooking. Keep your body flexible by stretching or doing yoga first thing in the morning when you wake up. Having a daily routine is important to keep you stay active, strong and healthy during self-isolation. You can also stay active by practising singing or joining a virtual choir. There are many health benefits of singing to your mental, physical and emotional health that you may not know. ACH Group’s Sing for Joy virtual choir offers weekly online rehearsal led by an experienced choir director to help you learn new songs and singing techniques in a fun and social environment.
Keep yourself entertained
Keeping yourself busy and entertained during COVID-19 is very important. Listening to music, watching your favourite shows on Netflix, playing video games, subscribing to YouTube tutorials and learning new skill are some ideas you can try. We’ve come up with a list of fun things you can do online while in lockdown.
Stay informed with the right information
During uncertain times like these, information overload could happen, resulting in stress and anxiety. Staying informed and getting the right information from reliable sources is key. If you need more information about COVID-19, visit ACH Group’s COVID-19 Response Page to find out more.
Connect with a mental health resource
This is a difficult and unsettling time, and if you need mental health support you can call the Beyond Blue Support Service. The free and confidential service is available every day to all Australians online from 3pm to midnight AEST or 24 hours a day by phone on 1300 22 4636.
The Beyond Blue Online Forums have a dedicated ‘Coping with the Coronavirus outbreak’ section for anyone seeking a safe and anonymous place to discuss their mental health and wellbeing. For practical information and tips, please visit Beyond Blue – looking after you mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.
For assistance in a mental health emergency, contact the mental health triage service – telephone 13 14 65 available 24 hours, seven days a week.