As many of us continue to live with restrictions, it has never been more important to check in with yourself.
We've put together some tips to keep you well in these challenging times.
Develop a routine
It really helps to create some structure where you can.
It might be as simple as committing to making the bed, having a shower and getting dressed for the day.
Uncertainty is known to increase stress in humans. So it’s important where you can to create a bit of a rhythm and predictability –your body (and your hypothalamus) will thank you.
Getting fresh air, outdoors is a great way to break up the day and get your body moving. Just remember to keep a good distance between yourself and others.
Alternatively, make a space in your home for exercise.
Interval training can be a great way to get much more out of small blocks of exercise.
And for those who are into yoga or fitness classes, then finding your fitness muse and streaming some sessions can be a great way to keep motivated and ensure you push yourself that little bit further.
Dial up the gratitude
Flexing your gratitude muscles can improve your overall psychological health and reduce the likelihood of you defaulting to the more toxic emotions – such as frustration and resentment.
It can be especially difficult being stuck with your partner/kids/housemates/parents for this extended and unknown period of time – and a tool like this can help alleviate a bit of the pressure and give you an everyday superpower and see the more positive side of things.
What are the benefits of gratitude?
Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has shown the link between gratitude and wellbeing in several studies and shows that gratitude can effectively increase your happiness and help avoid depression.
Sometimes it can feel hard to find reasons to be grateful, but it’s like a rolling stone – once you start you get your own momentum.
As a start, you can make a list and challenge yourself to do it more than once.
Start with little things. Don’t focus on what you don’t have or what frustrates you. It will get easier and the benefits will grow in time, too.
Here are some pointers that can help you keep it up.
Working from home? Even if it’s just you at home. Switching up spots during the day or on certain days can give a much needed dabble of variety.
Change your view, set yourself up near the window. Try a standing desk for a while.
Wherever you base yourself – make sure that the space is comfortable. You don’t want to get a sore neck or develop RSI just to get a glimpse of the backyard.
While it’s not recommended to leave the home right now, the full forest bathing experience is not really on the cards. You can still bring some elements of the outdoors in to help make your space seem more balanced and calming.
Snip some small branches and leaves and pop them in a bottle. Voila.
Not only can this spruce up a dreary space, it might just do wonders for your psyche too.
And to really dial up the sensory experience why not create a whole sound environment using tools like Noisli and MyNoise.net (both have free accounts available).
Keep a balanced diet
A big part of keeping healthy is watching what you put into your body.
Normally don’t have time to cook? Now could be a great time to put your cooking skills to the test and you could create a great new habit for life.
And if all fails, you can dial up your fave local business and call in some emergency ‘my dish didn’t quite work’ takeaway.
Commit to trying something new– whether that’s downloading a book/watching a movie/tackling the third drawer in the kitchen. Task yourself with small goals that will help you get more done each week and feel better at the same time.
Pick up the phone, send a text, write that email (you’ve been meaning to get to for the last six months), download a video chat app.
Human connection is so important.
Technology that allows us to see each other face to face is especially valuable right now.
Now’s a great time to refresh the tools you use to connect with others. And why not take your folks on the ride too.
Houseparty, Zoom, Whatsapp, Facetime. See what apps have the features you rate the most and give them a whirl and see what works best for you.
Book a regular time to catch up with your mates, your family, your neighbours even.
Isolation is tough for all of us but can be especially tough for those who live alone and the elderly. So think about making an unexpected call and just checking in, and pass the good will on.
Help a senior
There are many people who could do with a little bit of extra help right now.
You might know a friend, colleague or neighbour who may not have much support around them.
Elderly people are at a higher risk with COVID-19, and they are also generally not as au fait with digital technology and services that could help them access groceries or just stay connected.
What could be a small errand or gesture for you could really be a lifesaver.
Why not check in and say hello, and if you can, maybe even offer to get some groceries, arrange to pick up a script from the pharmacy – and leave them at the door.
Just remember to keep all the social distancing measures and current recommendations in place.
Get some rest
With all that’s going on in the world and the disrupted routines it can seem trivial, but sleep is well-known and important to overall wellness.
Maintain a good sleeping pattern and try and get at least eight hours rest (or whatever is achievable for your specific circumstances).
Remember that sleep has many knock-on effects – and the best way to maintain this is to stick to a routine bedtime and try and quieten your mind.
We hope that gives you some ideas and pointers to run with. But in the end, be kind and be safe. And together, we’ll get through this!
For the latest COVID-19 advice and information, visit health.gov.au
If you need immediate support please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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