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Keep your mental health in check during our Snap Lockdown
Posted 24 Apr 2021
We’ve got this (again) Perth & Peel – a 3 day plan.
News of another COVID-19 lockdown will have triggered some alarm in most of us. It may be just three days (here’s hoping!) but it’s still completely normal to experience some worry and anxiety.
Prioritising our mental and physical health in lockdown can be difficult but it’s important to do things that help us stay mentally healthy. It equips us to cope with uncertainty and deal with whatever might come our way.
Our lockdown plan helped many people when the shutters came down for five days earlier in the year, so here’s a new three-day plan with practical tips to help you through this latest snap lockdown. We’ve also included some great links to help you Act Belong and Commit during this time.
- Mindfulness – Seize the opportunity to stop this weekend, slow down and be in the moment by practicing mindfulness. Take time to reconnect with family or yourself and your immediate surroundings. You might be surprised with what you find.
- Exercise – Make the most of your one hour of outside exercise each day eg. take a walk in your neighbourhood. Don’t forget your mask!
- Pleasant events – Think about some things you can do during lockdown to make yourself feel better. You may actually have fond memories from last lockdown. Doing pleasant activities you enjoy 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 who is experiencing lockdown alone, give them a call and let them know you are only a phone call away.
- Mindfulness – Draw strength from the ANZACs. If getting up early for a driveway dawn commemoration is not for you, sit quietly for a moment during the day to reflect on what you feel, think and hear. Or try a free trial of a meditation app provided by the Australian Government’s Headspace.
- Exercise – The weather is perfect to spend some time in the garden. There’s proven mental health benefits from connecting with nature and your garden.
- Pleasant events – Pick another pleasant event from your list written on Day 1 and enjoy it – e.g. get to 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 – Get active with an online yoga session. Search YouTube, for an enjoyable one. CosmicKids Yoga is great to do together with your kids.
- Pleasant events – Pick today’s pleasant event from your list written on Day 1 and embrace it eg. Find some old family board games or maybe you have something to play in the back yard or porch.
- Connect – Think of someone special you really want to see once lockdown is over. Reach out to them today 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 the virus, such as official Western Australian advice found here.
Coping strategies if you need a little extra help –
Keep things in perspective with trusted information from WA’s Mental Health Commission found 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:
Need urgent support? Crisis mental health services and helplines 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.