A 4 day plan to help you get through the latest snap lockdown
Frustration, disappointment, irritation, anxiety – we’ve all probably experienced at least one of these responses at the news of another COVID-19 snap lockdown for the Perth and Peel regions. The uncertainty and sudden disruption to our lives can take its toll on our mental wellbeing and we need to do all we can to stay mentally healthy.
Abiding by the government’s instructions such as staying home, social distancing and wearing masks will help us come out of lockdown as quickly as possible - and can actually help us feel we’re doing something positive.
We don’t need to be a spectator when it comes to our mental health. The Act Belong Commit message provide a guide to the things we can do to help us stay mentally healthy. And right now, they are more important than ever.
It starts with a decision to prioritise your mental health.
Our 4 day plan below gives practical tips to help you through this latest snap lockdown – activities to bolster your mental wellbeing and stay positive at a time when it’s easy to become negative. It also includes links to other great resources to help you.
We’ve outlined 4 things to do each day across the 4 days of lockdown.
- Act with Mindfulness – to reduce anxiety and depression, helping you accept and let go of upsetting thoughts
- Exercise – a known protection for mental health
- Feel good moment – a pleasant activity each day improves our mood
- Connect with others – essential to help manage stress
If you need more support, help is available through these mental health services and helplines.
- Mindfulness – If you’re looking to relieve stress, a short, guided meditation at any time during the day will allow you to act with mindfulness. Just step away from whatever you’re doing, take a few deep breaths, and recharge - try out this short meditation by Headspace.
- Exercise – This doesn’t have to be a big exercise. Try to incorporate what you can handle into your routine each day. Don’t let the rain get in your way – do it indoors, google online exercise programs or simply kick off your lockdown with a stretching routine.
- Feel good moment – Think about some things you can do during lockdown to make yourself feel better. Something you enjoy. Doing pleasant activities every day can improve your mood. Write a list and pick one to do each day. Think about listening to music, watching a movie, exercising, phoning a friend. Start with the first activity today.
- Connect - Keeping connected to people is an important way we can keep mentally healthy. Check in on someone today who is experiencing lockdown alone. Give them a call and let them know you are only a phone call away.
- Mindfulness - Colouring can be an enjoyable option to mindfulness, and can be used as a way to reduce feelings of anxiety. Check out these Act Belong Commit colouring-in sheets to start your mindful colouring.
- Exercise – Get active with an online yoga session. Search YouTube, for an enjoyable and free one. CosmicKids Yoga is great to do together with your kids.
- Feel good moment – Pick another pleasant activity from your list written on Day 1 and enjoy it eg. find time to get into a few pages of that book you haven’t started reading.
- Connect – Think of someone you have been meaning to connect with. Reach out to check how they are and enjoy their company in whichever channel works best for you (phone, zoom, email etc).
- Mindfulness – Take a breather for 5-10mins. Focus on your breath – get comfortable and find a place to be still for a few minutes. Focus on where you feel your breath most and try to keep your attention on your inhale and exhale. Or try a Body Scan Meditation - begin to focus your attention on different parts of your body. For each part of the body, linger for a few moments and notice the different sensations as you focus. Check out this fantastic FREE 2 minute guided video on mindful breathing from The University of Oxford’s Mindfulness Centre
- Exercise – Make the most of your one hour of outside exercise each day. When you catch a break in the clouds, take a walk around the block or up to your local park. Don’t forget your mask and make sure you socially distance.
- Feel good moment - Pick today’s pleasant activity from your list written on Day 1 and embrace it eg. Get out an old family board game or puzzle.
- Connect - take the initiative and organise a Zoom get-together with friends or family. There’s something special when more people come together – even if it’s virtually.
- Mindfulness – Explore the world of mindfulness with Curtin’s collection of links to apps, books, meditations, and videos.
- Exercise – It’s Friday – it might be a good time to get out in your own garden or walk through your local park. There’s proven mental health benefits from getting out in nature and it feels good.
- Feel good moment - Pick today’s pleasant activity from your list written on Day 1 and enjoy it eg. Get creative in the kitchen or take time to look through photo albums – some pics are sure to bring on a smile!
- Connect - Think of someone special you really want to see once lockdown is over. Reach out to them today, through Face time or over the phone, and commit to catching up as soon as you’re able to meet in person safely.
There is lots of information out there, so it’s important to make sure you are accessing good quality information from credible sources about COVID-19.
Visit the Healthy WA website for information about all the ways you can reduce your risk of infection including keeping a check on exposure sites.
Official State Government advice can be found here.
Coping strategies if you need a little extra help -
Need urgent support? Crisis mental health services and helplines here.
Curtin University’s Discipline of Psychology has developed some specific coping strategies to help improve your mental health during the COVID-19 Pandemic, including a Self Help Guide found here:
About Act Belong Commit:
Act Belong Commit is directed from Curtin University’s Mentally Healthy WA. Funded by Healthway and the Mental Health Commission, the Act Belong Commit campaign promotes mental health by reminding us to regularly:
- ACT Do something: Mentally, physically, socially, spiritually, culturally…
- BELONG Do something with someone: Keep connected to friends, family and your community.
- COMMIT Do something meaningful: Get involved in activities that provide meaning and purpose.
At www.actbelongcommit.org.au you’ll find helpful information including hundreds of simple, do-able and achievable activities you can do to improve your mental health. There’s loads of ideas even for when you are in lockdown.
Thank you for the contribution from Associate Professor Sarah Egan, Discipline of Psychology, School of Population Health, Curtin University.