COVID-19 has dramatically changed our daily lives and how we interact with each other, including with your GP. Many of us are worried about our health, our loved ones, our jobs and finances, the economy and coping with isolation. While these feelings of worry and stress are normal at this time, it is also important to learn how to manage these feelings to maintain a sense of mental wellbeing.
Below are some simple tips to help maintain your mental health. Hopefully this list serves as a gentle reminder of what is within your control, at a time when many of us are feeling uncertain and overwhelmed.
- Eat freshly prepared healthy food. Try to stick to set meal/snack times and avoid eating in between. Limit sugary or processed foods.
- Limit alcohol consumption, it makes anxiety and depressive symptoms worse.
- Move your body every day. Go for a walk outside (while maintaining social distancing of course!), take part in a virtual exercise class or do some simple stretches.
- Maintain good sleep hygiene. Try to get up and go to bed at the same time everyday including on weekend. Avoid screens in the hour before bed. Avoid daytime naps.
- Maintain a routine as best as possible. If working from home, try to have specific work hours, a dedicated work space and take regular breaks. Avoid using the computer on the couch or in bed, this will lead to musculoskeletal pain.
- Stay connected to your family and friends via technology. Be kind to each other.
- Limit consumption of news and social media. Find a balance between staying informed and being bombarded by news and other people’s opinions. Avoid checking news or emails or social media first thing upon waking and before going to bed. Set aside the first 30mins of the day for something that you enjoy e.g. exercise, a cup of coffee.
- Some people find meditation, mindfulness and breathing exercises helpful. Good apps include Headspace and Calm.
- Focus on what is in your control and practice self-compassion. While you can’t control the COVID-19 situation you CAN control your actions and response to it. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, avoiding touch your face, practice social distancing and stay at home. These will help keep you and your loved ones well and decrease your chances of getting sick.
- If you are experiencing financial distress, please using the following links at the end of this post to find information relevant to your situation or contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 for free financial counselling.
If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression or thoughts of suicide, we at High St Medical Clinic are here to support you during this time, you DO NOT have to feel alone. Symptoms of anxiety and/or depression can include sleep problems, excessive worry, racing heart, feeling on edge, changes in appetite, avoiding situations or withdrawing from family and friends, lack of enjoyment, poor concentration, teary or sad, easily irritable or angry, low mood, loss of confidence, exhausted, trouble making decisions and difficulty performing your activities of daily living. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please reach out and book an appointment either by calling reception on (03) 9510 5500 or online via our website www.hsmc.com.au. Your mental wellbeing is of utmost importance to us and we can provide you with psychological support and personalised treatment options including mental health care plans over secure video Telehealth. All mental health care plans and mental health care plan reviews via Telehealth will be bulk billed during this crisis. You DO NOT have to feel overwhelmed or unable to cope, we are here to help YOU.
Accurate Information about COVID-19 in Australia
If you are struggling and have suicidal thoughts, please know you are not alone and help is available. The following organisations are available outside of your GP
Our local psychiatry unit, for people living in the inner south eastern suburbs, is the Alfred Mental Health Service, Their triage service is available 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.
Alfred Psychiatric Triage Service – 1300 363 746
SuicideLine – 1300 651 251
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
The Suicide Call Back Service provides immediate support to anyone feeling suicidal. In addition, they can provide ongoing support through up to six 50 minute telephone counselling sessions that will provide you with longer term support. The Suicide Call Back Service also offers online counselling