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Looking After Your Mental Health in a Lockdown

With repeated or prolonged lockdowns common across much of Australia, healthy coping mechanisms are absolutely critical. During periods of isolation, it's crucial to look after your mental health and support the people you care about. While extended family dinners and fun-filled social events may not be possible right now, there are other ways to protect your mental well-being. From physical activity to meditation, from video calls to professional assistance, looking after your mental health is more important than ever before.

When it comes to mental health, awareness is key. Regardless of your experiences or sensations, it's important to be honest with yourself and acknowledge how you're feeling. Before you can make positive lifestyle changes, you need to step back, take stock, and gain clarity over your situation. There are many ways to do this, from meditation and relaxation exercises to technology time-outs and long walks in the park.

The particulars are not that important, with self-compassion and space creation more important than specific activities or events. Once you've allowed yourself the time and space to be reflective, you're more likely to engage an active mindset in order to change your situation. While you should never put pressure on yourself, there are lots of ways to transform negative feelings through positive feedback. It's important to boost your mood with reassuring thoughts and fuel your body with nutritious food.

Along with looking after your mind, it's important to respect the role that the body plays in mental health. Regular exercise is an integral part of positive well-being, especially in times of isolation and confinement. There is a reason why people exercise more during lockdowns, with walking, running, and cycling keeping you in touch with the world and helping you to see the bigger picture. If you don't want to leave the house, yoga, stretching, and bodyweight exercises can be performed almost anywhere.  

If you're feeling down or confused about the state of the world, human connection is still the best way forward. While you may not be able to hug your mum or spend a long lunch with your best friend, phone calls and video chats can be a healthy substitute. Reaching out to others can help to alter your mood for the better, especially when you're feeling isolated and alone. If you're not up for a voice or face-to-face conversation, text messages and snail mail are better than nothing at all.     

While talking with friends and family members is normally a good idea, professional support is also there when you need it. Phone support is widely available to people in need, including specialist support for people with substance abuse, domestic violence, and eating disorder problems. If you want to see a professional in person, the lockdown doesn't have to hold you back. You are able to make and keep appointments with counsellors, psychologists, and medical professionals. As the world deals with COVID-19 together, it's more important than ever to look after yourself and the people you hold dear.