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How to look after your mental health during lockdown

Here are some ways to take care of yourself if you're feeling overwhelmed and anxious

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Written by
Rebecca Russo
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Feeling anxious right now? It’s hard not to be. Being in lockdown or being in isolation can be overwhelming for a number of reasons. If you’re struggling, it’s really important to remember two things: one, all of this is temporary, and two, you aren’t alone. Whether you need someone to talk through all these feelings, or just looking for some good coping strategies, we hope the following can help. 

The Victorian government has put together a great resource for us Victorians who might be struggling with anxiety and stress right now. 

Tips for staying calm and healthy

High case numbers, panic buying, Dan wearing a suit and not his North Face jacket… there are many triggers that can cause a strain on your mental health right now. Looking after your mental wellbeing is as important as looking after yourself physically so here are some things to try when you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. Here are some tips from the DHHS and Beyond Blue that could help right now:

  • Remind yourself that this is only a temporary period of lockdown
  • Talk to loved ones about your worries and concerns and connect with friends, family and colleagues regularly via phone, social media or email
  • Engage in hobbies and enjoyable activities
  • Try to maintain a healthy diet and sleep regime
  • Avoid social media and news if you find it distressing
  • Try to maintain physical activity, even if it’s just a short walk to the end of the street and back
  • Be prepared and make sure you have enough food, supplies and medication on hand (if you need help collecting these items, call the DHHS hotline on 1800 675 398) 
  • Find opportunities to share positive and hopeful stories with others and take the opportunity to show acts of kindness to those around you (have you popped a teddy bear or a rainbow in your front window?) 
  • Remember that what you’re doing right now, staying home, is helping others in the community

Obviously, even reading that list can feel a little overwhelming. Here are three that you can focus on right now: staying connected to friends and family, staying healthy, and switching off when you can

Who can you call to get help?

Someone is always there to listen. Here are some great services you can connect with right now:

  • Lifeline Australia (13 11 14). This national crisis support service offers advice and short term support 24/7. If you’re not ready to call, did you know that you can also text someone from Lifeline from 6pm until midnight AEST? The number is 0477 131 114.  
  • Beyond Blue (1800 512 348). Non-profit Beyond Blue provides support to those experiencing depression and suicidal thoughts. The organisation has set up a coronavirus support service which you can access here.
  • Eheadspace. This service offers free online support and counselling to those aged 12-25 across Australia.

Find more services on the Vic gov website here.

Note: Even during lockdowns, you can still leave your house if you are experiencing family violence. Safe Steps is Victoria’s family violence support service that operates 24/7. Get in touch via phone on 1800 015 188.

Need some suggestions on how to switch off? Here are the best YouTube videos for relaxing and spacing out.

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