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Prioritise your mental wellbeing during isolation
Posted 13 May 2022
Record daily case numbers in Western Australia mean many families and individuals are now experiencing the full impact of COVID-19, whether it’s for the first time or once again.
As well as the physical impacts of contracting COVID -19, our mental wellbeing can also be affected. The illness itself, forced isolation, concerns for our health and the health of those we love, and the challenge of simple managing a household with Covid cases can all impose extra burdens on our mental wellbeing.
Below are some strategies and tips to help manage your mental wellbeing if you or those around you are experiencing COVID-19.
Watch your thinking
- Focus on what you can control in each moment and try to accept what is unknown or uncertain. Try to keep things in perspective and avoid getting caught up in making predictions. Focus on what you can control and not the things you can’t.
- Many of us actually underestimate our ability to deal with hard times. Remember how you have coped in the past in difficult circumstances. What things helped you, and what didn’t help?
- If you notice yourself worrying during the day, try to contain your worrying to a particular ‘worry time’ (e.g., 5-5:15pm). Outside of this time, postpone your worry and see if it still matters at your worry time.
- The non-stop media coverage is great to keep you up to date but it’s not always helpful and some may find it overwhelming and upsetting. Limit media exposure and stick to trusted sources of information – check in with the news rather than being constantly connected.
Follow the message of Act Belong Commit – It’s grounded in great principles
We can do the things that support our mental wellbeing even while we are in isolation. The Act Belong Commit Weekly Planner helps us plan specific Act, Belong and Commit activities to keep on top of our wellbeing throughout the week. Putting aside time each day to do things that contribute to our wellbeing isn’t only helpful to get through difficult times, such as isolation, but also can improve how we feel overall. There are some tips within the Weekly Planner, but here are some more suggestions how you can incorporate act, belong and commit into your everyday.
- Do things that make you feel good. Check out this list of 50 activities known to bring pleasure to some people, and you can do them under lockdown.
- Try to maintain regular sleep routine and eat well. Perhaps you now have more time to prepare fresh meals and exercise, which will improve your mental health and wellbeing.
- Keep your alcohol, tobacco, and drug use in check. Try swapping a glass of wine for a herbal tea.
- Use mindfulness meditation, slow breathing, yoga or other activities that slow your mind and relax your body.
- Connect to people you care about.
- Within the home, show support to others and ask for what you need. Start meaningful conversations and deepen connections, which may be more difficult when life is busy.
- Send friends and family a text to let them know you are thinking about them. Give them a call or use your preferred video-conferencing platform. Check in on someone else experiencing lockdown alone and let them know you are only a phone call away.
- Why not take this time to think about new things you could do to challenge yourself when you are out of isolation, such as volunteering or taking up a cause.
- If you feel up to it, you could start something new and meaningful for you even while you are in isolation.
You’ll find more practical advice and strategies on managing your mental wellbeing while experiencing COVID-19 in this article by general practitioner, and ANU Associate Professor, Louise Stone here.
Follow trusted advice
While every person and household will be affected by outbreaks of COVID-19 in different ways, the WA Government’s practical advice and information on managing COVID-19 at home and in the community is relevant for anyone experiencing COVID-19 first hand.
Get support if you need it
- Professional support is available. Call a helpline to talk things over.
- Contact your GP for a telehealth appointment. Seek a referral to a psychologist if you are struggling.
Act Belong Commit acknowledges Peter McEvoy, Professor of Clinical Psychology from Curtin University’s School of Population Health, enAble Institute and the Centre for Clinical Interventions, who has collaborated with Mentally Healthy WA to bring you this article.
Professor McEvoy is also a member of Mentally Healthy WA’s Research Advisory Group.