As Melbourne enters lockdown 2.0, looking after yourself and your wellbeing is more important than ever. We understand the stress and uncertainty that this Pandemic has caused many of us, so we have put together some ideas on how you can take care of yourself and to help manage the stress. We have also spoken to some of our past grant recipients on how they are looking after their wellbeing during the lockdown.
Self-care is all the things we do for the purpose of looking after ourselves and supporting our health and wellbeing. Some examples of self-care activities are eating, grooming, practicing hygiene, socialising, exercising, and engaging in recreation.
One of our grant recipients had this to say about how they are looking after their mental wellbeing during lockdown:
“I go for walks in the park near my house and do yoga and meditation at home on a regular basis. I stopped watching the news, I noticed a significant increase in my mental wellbeing after I decided to limit my intake. I think that the fear and anxiety around the situation is worse than the situation itself, so it’s been important for me to check in every day with how I’m feeling, and stop projecting worst case scenarios because it’s a very exhausting frame of mind to be in and very counterproductive. Self-care is essential!”
Here is what another grant recipient had to say:
“I’ve been doing a lot of crafting, reading and binging tv shows. I’m coping pretty well.”
Below are some ideas on how you can look after yourself and your wellbeing during the lockdown:
Go back to the basics. Consider how focusing your energy on your basic personal needs can contribute to your wellbeing. Maybe this could be putting some effort into preparing meals for your day or taking a long bath with candles.
Setting aside 20-30 minutes of exercise per day can make a huge difference in improving your physical and mental health. Take an online yoga or Pilates class, go for a walk or participate in inadvertent physical activity such as gardening and DIY tasks around the house to get yourself moving and raise those endorphins. Check out this simple yoga flow with Lee Hoogeveen who has tailored the session to people living with a recovering from cancer.
While maintaining physical distancing protocols, now is the time to get creative in how you stay connected. There has been no easier time to do this than now with the help of technology. Organize virtual catch ups with loved ones via zoom or facetime, stay up to date on social media or if you need to talk, pick up the phone and call a friend.
In times of high stress, it is important to set time aside to engage in restorative or nurturing activities to look after yourself. Stretch, read a book, take a bath, practice mindfulness, engage in art therapy or journaling. Whatever works for you to feel calm and rejuvenated. Smiling mind is a great free app fro practicing mediation and mindfulness.
This is your time to pursue activities that make you happy or bring pleasure. Try and get creative with how you spend your free time. Different ideas could be; playing an instrument, listening to music or podcasts, get creative in the kitchen, start working on a DIY project, watch a documentary, start a veggie patch or teach your dog some new tricks.
Maintaining a routine
Upholding a consistent routine whilst working from home can be a challenge, but here are some handy tips to help keep motivated:
- Plan out nutritious meals and snacks at regular intervals in the day. This will add structure and help prevent low mood and weight gain due to unhealthy habits.
- Make to do lists and tick items off as you go. Lists could include anything from work related tasks to household chores or study. Ticking things off as you go will give you a dopamine rush with every task that you accomplish.
- Block time out with intention for productivity. This will help avoid a feeling of not knowing what to do next and mindlessly scrolling through your phone.
- Set aside time for regular breaks to blow off steam and clear your mind.
- Allow room for flexibility ensuring you are including a balance of activities to optimize your wellbeing.
Health/mental health support
- The Covid-19 outbreak has presented challenges for health and oncology services alike, despite this it is important to note that oncology services are working hard to ensure support is still there for those affected by cancer. Cancer Council Nurses can be reached on 13 11 20 to answer any questions or to provide support if you need to talk. Read more at https://www.cancer.org.au/cancer-and-covid-19/
- If you find yourself struggling, do not suffer in silence. There are free mental health services available such as Beyond Blue and Headspace that provide support and advise via telehealth. For mental health inquiries contact Beyond Blue support lines on 1300 22 4636, if you require urgent support, contact 000.
Australian National University (2020). Self-care in the time of Covid-19: Creative ways forward. Retrieved from https://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/self-care-in-the-time-of-covid-19-creative-ways-forward
Beyond Blue (2020). Coping with the coronavirus pandemic. Retrieved from https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/?utm_campaign=hp_banner
Cancer Council Australia (2020). Living with cancer. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/living-with-cancer/
Lifeline (2020). Mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak. Retrieved from https://www.lifeline.org.au/get-help/topics/mental-health-and-wellbeing-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak
Swinburne University of Technology (2020). Top tips to maintain a healthy routine. Retrieved from http://www.swinburne.edu.au/news/latest-news/2020/04/top-tips-to-maintain-a-healthy-routine-.php
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