Maintaining your connections if you are in physical isolation
To help control the spread of COVID-19, every Australian is being asked to practise strict physical distancing or, in some cases, to self-isolate for two weeks, or longer if at greater risk of contracting the virus.
Physical distancing measures can present a number of challenges – including separation from loved ones, loss of freedom and reduced income, and feelings of boredom, frustration and fear.
This can create worry for anyone, and for those with an existing mental health issue it can be even worse.
Thankfully, there are a few simple measures we can all take to help look after our mental health and wellbeing during this period of physical isolation.
You’re right: staying at home most of the time is hardly the most exciting way to spend your life. But instead of thinking of all the negatives, think of all the positives instead.
Like the fact that this period of self-isolation is only temporary.
And that your actions are going a long way toward slowing the spread of this virus, and are helping protect you and those most vulnerable in our community.
Stay active ... in body and mind
Whilst binge-watching your favourite Netflix series is perfectly acceptable, it’s a good idea to spend your social distancing time on lots of other activities too.
If you’re working from home, for example, you may plan to do this during specific hours of the day, with scheduled breaks and a dedicated workspace where you are comfortable and distractions are limited. This will leave other time to do things like reading a book or learning a foreign language. (It really is never too late.) Or how about finally getting that box of family photographs sorted out once and for all?
You should of course, aim to keep your body equally active too. Check out YouTube and you’ll find lots of simple exercises that can be done in your home or outdoor area. Talking of which, if you’re fit and healthy, now there’s absolutely no excuse for your garden not to be completely weed-free.
Stay in touch
Not just with your family and friends (on the phone or via video calling) but with what’s happening in the world, too.
Now, a word of warning here: You’re going to read and hear a great deal about the virus pandemic … it’s dominating news outlets and social media. And whilst it’s important to keep as informed and updated as you can, it’s equally important to avoid any sensationalism or misinformation which may lead to an unnecessary increase in anxiety.
So rather than trusting things like social media for your updates, a much better idea is to limit yourself to a trusted source like Healthy WA. Oh, and don’t overdo things. A once or twice a day catch up is more than enough.
Now that restaurants and cafes are starting to reopen it is a great opportunity to get in touch with someone you haven't seen in a while to grab a coffee and support local business.
However, some of us still can't see loved ones and others might be choosing to remain at home. It is important to be respectful of other peoples situations and comfort levels.
Reach out for help when needed
If you feel the stress or anxiety you may experience as a result of being socially isolated from friends and family is getting too much, make sure you reach out for help.
Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling, including friends or family, or any of the Useful Contacts listed here.