For the near future, and until enough of us are vaccinated to build up herd immunity, snap lockdowns may well be part of our new normal.
Knowing that doesn’t make things any easier.
Melbourne’s latest COVID-19 outbreak and resulting lockdown have resurfaced feelings of loneliness, stress, anxiety and depression for many people.
That’s why, to help you cope during this difficult time, we’ve put together this lockdown wellbeing guide for you.
Have a read – and please take care.
The current need to self-distance and self-isolate leaves many of us feeling cut off and disconnected from friends, family and colleagues. Especially those of us who live alone.
To help combat this, make sure you touch base with someone every single day.
Social media, Skype, FaceTime and a simple phone call are excellent tools for staying connected and keeping your mind healthy.
Do you know someone who needs a pick me up? Don’t underestimate how much a care package or posted letter can brighten their day and remind them that someone cares.
If you find yourself struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to trained mental health professionals.
Inspiro’s mental health team offer a range of support services and Beyond Blue has a Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service that’s available 24/7.
Lockdown affects the way we eat, cook and shop for food. Some of us bake bread and turn into master chefs while others get chummy with our Uber Eats drivers. No judgements here!
Whether your goal is to save money, cut down on mindless snacking or eat to support your wellbeing, read this delicious advice from our dietetics and nutrition team.
- Tips for eating in ISO
- Easy and nutritious meal ideas
- Overcome emotional eating
- How to eat healthily without dieting
The current Victorian lockdown rules say that you can exercise outside your home with one other person for a maximum of two hours a day, no more than 10km from where you live.
Even though we can’t go to the gym or fitness centre right now, staying active at home can do wonders for your physical and mental health.
So, get moving!
Regular exercise has many health benefits, including:
- reducing stress and anxiety
- improving your sleep
- controlling weight and diabetes
- reducing your risk of health conditions like stroke and heart disease
Our Exercise Physiologist Mitchell Wright can assess your needs and teach you exercises best suited to your body and goals (remotely, over video call right now!). Contact us to book your session.
Good sleep is good for your physical and mental health. Most of us need a solid 7-9 hours of Z's a night. But Lockdown's friends Stress, Overthinking, and Anxiety often invite Insomnia over for the evening.
So, if you’re counting sheep to help you sleep, try these tips for a better night’s rest.
If sleep is escaping you regularly, try to:
- Get plenty of morning sunshine (it resets your body clock)
- Get plenty of exercise, long before bedtime
- Keep your bedroom dark and at a comfortable temperature
Avoid these lesser-known stimulants in the hours before bed:
- The TV, your smartphone and computers (Did we mention your smartphone?!)
- Alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and large meals
And if you still can’t sleep? Stay off your phone! Get up and distract yourself for a bit.
Do yoga stretches. Flip through magazines. Keep calm – sleep will come eventually.
- More tips for getting a good night’s sleep – a Beyond Blue resource
It’s normal and expected to feel fearful and anxious at a time like this. However, it’s important to know that, left unchecked, these feelings can start to affect you in unhelpful ways.
So, focus on finding calm and relaxation whenever you feel overwhelmed.
You can do this by:
- doing any kind of physical movement. Exercise is a great way to release the excess energy that comes with a stress response.
- focusing on your breathing. Slow it down and the uncomfortable sensations of fear and anxiety start to disappear.
- getting into the now. Connect to what is happening in the moment - splash cold water on your face or hug your pet – to turn your focus from inwards to outwards.
Ask for help
For substance abuse
People have been drinking more – and more frequently – during the pandemic than in the three years before it, according to a study by the Australian National University.
More so in lockdown as people binge drink to numb stress, loneliness, boredom, frustration or anxiety. Can you relate?
The good news? If you want to reduce your alcohol intake, we can help.
Inspiro offers counselling to people who are using alcohol, drugs, food or sex to cope with negative emotions or experiences. We can help you find healthier coping mechanisms.
For your (or your child’s) mental health
Lots of people have experienced a change in their own or their loved one’s mood and behaviour because of the Covid-19 pandemic and Victoria’s strict lockdowns.
These challenging times have triggered new mental health concerns for many – anxiety, post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression, and insomnia. And they’ve intensified existing mental health problems for others.
It’s perfectly normal not to be okay all the time. And there’s no shame in seeking help.
We can all benefit from therapy from time to time. Especially right now.
You don’t need to have a concrete reason to talk to a mental health professional, or a diagnosed mental health disorder. Therapy is available to everyone, including children.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unlike yourself:
- Talk to your regular doctor or general practitioner (GP). If your doctor thinks you need some support, they may prepare a free Mental Health Care Plan for you so you can access counsellors or psychologists through Medicare.
- Get instant help. If you need immediate support, you can contact a mental health telephone line, SMS messaging service or online counselling service.
- Give Inspiro a call. We offer low or no-cost counselling services and can link you to the right level of care.
Getting help early can stop challenging issues from turning into serious conditions.
For your finances
Job insecurity and reduced employment are some of the biggest unseen side effects of the pandemic. We understand that lockdown has been especially trying on small business owners and people in industries not classified as Essential.
If your finances have been impacted by COVID-19, enquire about:
- Inspiro’s No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS). This scheme is designed to give people on low incomes access to interest free loans. Loans can be spent on essential household goods, maintenance, medical appliances, back to school items and more. Contact us for more information.
- The Victorian government’s financial support packages. These are for people and businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au to find out more.
- How to look after yourself through unemployment – a Beyond Blue resource
Keep your medical appointments
It’s important to stay up to date with your health and wellbeing appointments, even in lockdown. Thankfully, telehealth (phone and video call) makes it easy for you to access many of your usual health and support services – from the comfort of the couch!
Right now (as of Friday 28th May), the only services Inspiro can deliver in person are urgent allied health and emergency dental services (like tooth infection or abscess).
Everything else – counselling, non-urgent allied health (dietetics, occupational therapy, podiatry, etc), NDIS services, and children’s services – will take place via telehealth.
That said, we have a limited number of face-to-face consultations available for urgent, essential care, so please contact us to discuss your situation.
Remember, getting a COVID-19 vaccine is one of the few reasons you can leave home during lockdown. Find out how you can book your vaccine appointment.