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If there’s one thing we’ve all learned after what seems like lockdown after lockdown, it’s that prioritising our mental health is incredibly important. Whilst many people took the first couple of lockdowns as a chance to get around to doing some things they’d been putting off because of being too busy to do them, others took the time to relax and regroup during these times. Now though, after another series of lockdowns across the country, it has become more difficult to cope, both mentally and physically. In many ways, it can be hard to see an end to the current difficult times and a return to normality. And so, now more than ever, it’s time to take care of your mental health. We’ve put together some helpful tips on surviving another lockdown, to help you not only survive, but thrive.

1. Learn from experience

Whilst some people thrived during the first year of lockdowns, many of us found it overwhelming. Suddenly being unable to connect in the same ways with friends and family, being isolated from work and colleagues, or even losing jobs and struggling financially, affected many thousands of Australians in very real ways. If there’s one thing we can take from these experiences, it’s to learn what worked for us each individually and what didn’t. Take some time to look back at your emotional and mental wellbeing during that time – what went well for you, and what could have been done differently? Did you thrive with extra time alone and with more free time, or did it negatively affect your mental health? What were some of the things that made you feel good? Writing down some of your experiences can make it easier to see things more clearly, so get out a pen and paper to jot down your thoughts.

2. Make a plan that works for you

What are your goals for the rest of this year, and next year? Give yourself some time to think long and hard about these because, as we’ve all learned over the last year and a half, it’s that those lockdowns can severely warp our sense of time, mess around with our planning, and leave us feeling left in limbo. Whilst we wait each and every day for news about when the current lockdown will end, so that we can ‘get on with our lives again’, we fail to notice that our days are slipping away from us. So, instead of waiting for the time to pass, have a think about what this time could be doing for you. Although being locked down is no fun for anyone, it does give each of us a unique opportunity to focus on things we’d otherwise neglect. What are your priorities? What can you work towards, even whilst in lockdown? What are your plans? Here are a few things you might like to think about:

  • How can I work on my health and fitness during lockdown?
  • How can I further my career, even whilst in lockdown?
  • Is there some extra learning or training I could be doing now?
  • What can I do around the house that I’ve been putting off?
  • Who can I take the time to reconnect with, via the phone, email, or video calls?
  • How can I help others during this time?
  • What can I do to improve my mental health?

3. Prioritise your mental health

According to a study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in five Australians reported feeling a high degree of psychological distress during lockdowns, with more than one third reporting feelings of increased stress, anxiety, or depression. As lockdowns continue to roll out all over Australia, experts expect these figures to keep rising. So, what can you do to protect and improve your mental health during these times? The key is to make your mental health your number one priority.

Did you know that many counsellors and psychologists offer online services? Whether your mental health has been suffering as a direct result of lockdowns, or you’ve been struggling with mental health concerns that you’ve previously felt ‘too busy’ to address, now is an ideal time to put your mental health first. Reach out to a therapist in your area and enquire about how they could help you. The great thing about seeking out a local therapist during lockdown is that once things open back up again, you can switch to seeing your counsellor, psychologist, or life coach in person if you’d like.

In addition to counselling, psychology, or life coaching services, there are some great things you can do for your mental health on your own. What works best for you? Here are some things you could try during lockdown:

  • Start a daily meditation routine, to centre your mind and start your day off feeling energized.
  • Begin a journal, writing down anything from how you’re feeling each day, to the dreams you’ve been having, to goals you might set for each day, week, or month.
  • Check in regularly with friends or loved ones who can support you – whether you’re having a good day or a bad one.
  • Make some notes (in your journal, if you’re keeping one) about your mental health each day, that you can share with your therapist in your next session.
  • Make a list of all the things that help to improve your mental health and give you a boost when you’re feeling low, stressed, anxious, or depressed. Go to your list when these feelings hit, and pick out something you can do at that moment to help.

4. Make your health and fitness a priority

We know, you hear it again and again – but prioritising your health and fitness can REALLY make an incredible difference to your mental and overall wellbeing. And although lockdown means you can’t make it to the gym, it does give you some time to work out from home, spend time cooking meals that make you feel good, and find new and interesting ways to do both. If you could benefit from some help with building a good routine around eating and exercising, reach out to a personal trainer or holistic health coach who can create a program that will work well during lockdown and is made to suit your individual circumstances.

We hope these tips have given you some good ideas for how to survive another lockdown; from eating better, to protecting your mental health, to setting goals and achieving them even in these difficult times. For even more tips on surviving and thriving during lockdown, you can read our earlier blog article, 5 Ways to Create a Better You During Lockdown.

To book a consultation or find out more about our services – including counselling, psychology, life coaching, personal training, nutritional psychology, and more – get in touch with us at Integrated Health Specialists today.

Michelle van Namen
Author: Michelle van Namen