As the impact of the coronavirus outbreak continues to unfold globally, people are experiencing major disruptions to their everyday life. In this ever-changing environment, it can be easy to be swept up in the commotion and feel like so much is out of your control. This article aims to provide you with productive steps you can take to help look after your physical, mental and social health and calmly navigate through this difficult time.


1. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR EMOTIONS

When significant challenges occur, people respond and react in many different ways – some feel stressed and anxious, some feel frustrated and agitated, some feel sad and helpless. Whatever you a feeling, be kind to yourself and know that you are allowed to feel that way. Rather than resorting to destructive behaviours such as stress eating, give yourself the space and time to recognise these emotions and find beneficial strategies to express them. This could be having a chat with someone you trust, journaling, listening to your favourite album or practicing mindful meditation. It is also important to recognise when you may not be coping well and seek professional support early. You can reach out to your GP or access online and phone mental health support services such as Beyond Blue (PH: 1800 22 4636) or MindSpot (PH: 1800 61 44 34).


2. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY ROUTINE

We all have certain routines that we follow in our daily lives that give us structure and purpose. While we may not be able to carry out our tasks in exactly the same way during quarantine or isolation, we can try to maintain our everyday activities as best as possible and focus on the things that are within our control. Instead of moping around, now is a great time to get up and turn your ‘To-Do List’ and turn it into a ‘Ta-Da List’! Go back to basics: prepare healthy portion-planned meals, do physical activity and stick to a regular sleep schedule.

Just because the gyms are closed doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise! Follow an at-home workout video or do some of our HWFL strength and mobility exercises (check out the video demos that are now online across all program sites). Adapting and doing the little, everyday things that are good for you will bring a sense of normalcy amidst all the turbulence and have a positive impact on all aspects of your health.


3. STAY CONNECTED

It is important to remember that social distancing does not need to mean social disconnection. Technology is a powerful tool that we can use to stay in touch. Call, text, or video-chat with family, friends and colleagues. Keep in mind that not all conversations and interactions have to revolve around the topic of coronavirus! Start a virtual book or movie club, share easy pantry-friendly recipes with each other or even schedule a Skype cooking session together. By reaching out and showing care for the people around us, we can generate optimism and hope.


4. SET LIMITS TO NEWS & MEDIA USE

Whilst it is important to stay informed, constantly refreshing your news and social media feeds can quickly turn into a counterproductive, anxiety fuelling activity. Instead, set a specific time to check in with the news and make sure to step away if you start feeling overwhelmed.


5. SEEK ACCURATE INFORMATION

By obtaining information from credible sources, we can avoid the unnecessary fear and panic that is often caused by sensationalised or exaggerated news. Some trusted sources include the Australian Government Department of Health website and the World Health Organisation website. To prevent the spread of misinformation, make sure to verify the source of an article before sharing it with your Facebook friends!


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