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Keeping mentally healthy during lockdown – a 5 day plan

Posted 1 Feb 2021

For many of us this week’s sudden Covid-19 lockdown has come as a shock. This type of dramatic unforeseen change can be stressful. Then there are the practical challenges of adapting to restrictions.

It’s completely normal to experience symptoms of stress, worry and anxiety during these times and looking after your mental and physical health when in lockdown can be difficult. But it’s important to do things to keep mentally healthy, which helps us cope with what is thrown at us and helps to ease distress.

Here is an easy 5 day mental wellbeing plan to help you get through the lockdown. We’ve also found some great links below to help you act belong and commit during this time.

Day 1.

  • 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.
  • 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 – Think about some things you can do during lockdown to make yourself feel better. Doing pleasant activities you enjoy every day can improve your mood. Write a list and pick one to do every 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. Find an online event that you can join to enable you to socialise in real time with others. Check out one of our Act Belong Commit partner’s meet up page. 

Day 2.

  • Mindfulness – Try a free trial of a meditation app provided by the Australian Government’s Headspace.
  • Exercise – Make time to get active outside. It’s amazing what you can achieve in your own backyard or porch.
  • Pleasant events – Pick today’s pleasant event from your list written on Day 1 and enjoy it – savour the experience, be in the moment and enjoy the event (e.g. cook a nice meal and savour the food).
  • Connect – Check in on someone who is experiencing lockdown alone, give them a call and ask how they are going.

Day 3.

  • Mindfulness – Check out this fantastic FREE 2 minute guided video on mindful breathing from The University of Oxford’s Mindfulness Centre OR you may choose to go deeper and check out the great free mindfulness podcasts 
  • Exercise – Make the most of your one hour of outside exercise each day e.g. take a walk around the block. Don’t forget your mask!
  • Pleasant events – Pick another pleasant event from your list written on Day 1 and enjoy it – make time to be in the moment and enjoy the event e.g. read a free online book.
  • Connect – Think of two friends you would like to connect with. Reach out to check how they are and enjoy their company in whichever channel works best for you.

Day 4.

  • Mindfulness –   Mindfulness is great for kids, while they are home check out these amazing resources
  • Exercise – Try an online Pilates session in the comfort of your loungeroom, search YouTube for a free video.
  • Pleasant events – Pick today’s pleasant event from your list written on Day 1 and enjoy it e.g. Find some old board games you think are fun.
  • 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.

Day 5.

  • Mindfulness – Explore the world of mindfulness with Curtin’s collection of links to apps, books, meditations, and videos.
  • Exercise – Try an online fitness class. Lots of local gyms and Councils have put up a range of videos online.
  • Pleasant events – Pick today’s pleasant event from your list written on Day 1 and enjoy it e.g. talk to an old friend on Zoom, Facetime or over the phone
  • Connect – Call back someone you have made contact with earlier in the week. See how they are going.

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 School of Population Health 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 to keep mentally, physically, socially, spiritually and culturally active.
  • BELONG: Do something with someone to keep connected to friends, family, community and culture.
  • COMMIT: Do something meaningful – get involved in activities that provide meaning and purpose.

Thank you for the contribution from Associate Professor Sarah Egan, Discipline of Psychology, School of Population Health, Curtin University.