Th­ese steps may help stop you go­ing stir crazy

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE­STYLE - Adam MacDougall

THE men­tal health im­pacts of a lock­down that shows no sign of end­ing can’t be ig­nored and when you com­bine that with the po­ten­tial loss of work, the in­abil­ity to see friends and fam­ily and the un­der­ly­ing fear of con­tract­ing the virus, it’s lit­tle won­der so many of us are feel­ing stressed out, anx­ious or de­pressed.

But while the sit­u­a­tion is tough and it could get tougher, it’s not hope­less, and just as we need to main­tain our phys­i­cal health dur­ing this dif­fi­cult pe­riod. We also need to fo­cus on main­tain­ing our men­tal health, too.

If you’re feel­ing stressed out in iso­la­tion, re­mem­ber that you’re not alone, and there is a lot of re­ally valu­able re­sources you can ac­cess, in­clud­ing those of­fered by Be­yond Blue.

Here are my tips on how to stay men­tally healthy in iso­la­tion:

1. Get mov­ing: One of the happy by-prod­ucts of ex­er­cise is it’s a sure-fire way to re­lease feel-good hor­mones in the body. Work­ing up a sweat re­leases sero­tonin and nor­ep­i­neph­rine, each linked to lower rates of de­pres­sion be­cause they make you feel great.

2. Ex­plore the not so wide and open spa­ces: Sure, beaches and na­tional parks be off lim­its, but you can still find smaller ways to en­gage with na­ture, be it spend­ing time sit­ting in your back yard, tak­ing a stroll through your neigh­bour­hood or sim­ply post­ing up by an open win­dow. Stud­ies have found that con­nect­ing with the en­vi­ron­ment re­duces stress and anger and in­creases your feel-good hor­mones.

3. Stay con­nected: The ben­e­fit of a lock­down now and not 10 years ago, is we are spoiled for choice when it comes to con­nect­ing with fam­ily and friends from afar. Whether phone calls, video chat or texts, we need to stay con­nected to the peo­ple who mat­ter. As soon as I fin­ish writ­ing this my wife and I are hav­ing a video din­ner with friends.

4. Make time for you: It’s easy to fall into a rou­tine of sleep, work, eat, re­peat, but you need to work in time for your­self. Many are us­ing this lock­down as an op­por­tu­nity to prac­tise a lan­guage or learn an in­stru­ment, but if that’s too ex­treme, find the lit­tle things that make you happy (med­i­ta­tion, cook­ing, an hour with a good book) and make time for them ev­ery day.

5. It’s all about per­spec­tive: While we’re all do­ing our part by stay­ing in­side and help­might ing slow the spread of the virus, re­mem­ber that the bright­est minds right across the globe are work­ing around the clock to solve this prob­lem. And they will solve it. This is not the new nor­mal, it’s an un­usual blip that will pass. In the mean­time, take care of your­self and check in on those around you and we’ll all get through this to­gether.

Pic­ture: iS­tock

GET OUT­SIDE: Daily ex­er­cise is al­lowed as part of the re­stric­tions and good for you.

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