Five Self-Care Tips for an Extended Lockdown (+Resources)

“We’re all in different boats going through the same storm” – Unknown.

Lockdown has affected everyone to varying degrees. Whilst some people have welcomed the change of pace, the majority are understandably struggling to adapt to the current restrictions. Counselling service Lifeline recently had its busiest day in the organisations history; a sign of the impact that restrictions are having on our mental health. With all the uncertainty as to when this situation will end, taking care of our minds and bodies is now more important than ever. When I speak of ‘self-care’ I don’t mean it in any superficial sense. Self-care isn’t just about being the best version of you; it’s also the practice of fortifying your mind and body as a means of supporting others (as the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”). With that in mind, here are five simple but effective things you can do to support yourself and help stave off the covid blues.

Walking in nature might be the simplest and most underrated physical activity we can engage in. The Japanese call this practice ‘Shinrin-Yoku’ (the English translation is ‘forest bathing’) and it is essential to their preventive health care. Walking in nature has a calming effect on the nervous system which can soothe a busy mind and improve mental clarity. We often overlook that psychological states and our nervous systems are intimately connected. For those who don’t have access to nature in their LGA, I recommend ‘mindful walking’ around the many beautiful parks. The idea is to leave phones or other potential distractions at home. Notice what thoughts, feelings or sensations show up for you. One of the most common things clients report after a device-free walk is how often they unconsciously reached into their pockets to grab their phones. This highlights how psychologically wired we are to our devices! A nature walk can also help clear your mind from the daily bombardment of covid related mainstream and social media – which brings me to the next point.

“Digitalisation has turned news from harmless form of entertainment into a weapon of mass destruction, and it’s aimed at our mental health”, says Rolf Dobelli, author of ‘Stop Reading The News’. Dobelli argues that what constitutes ‘breaking news’ is often largely irrelevant to our personal lives. Aside from the time-wasting aspect, there are several benefits to keeping news exposure to a minimum. We know that “neurons that fire together, wire together”, meaning the more we engage in a particular habit, the stronger the neural network becomes in the brain. If our attention is regularly on news headlines, this can negatively impact our mood and perception of reality, even if subconsciously. News can also inhibit our capacity for critical thinking, often leading us to oversimplify complex matters. How much can we truly learn about topics like epidemiology, global warming or international finance from news programs? And yet we tend to discuss these matters with authority over social media, when we could be focusing our energy on things more relevant to our wellbeing.

One of the most difficult aspects of the lockdown is not being able to see our loved ones. The truth is humans are biologically hardwired for connection, so this strikes at the very core of who we are. There is little that can substitute for the joy, laughter and camaraderie that brings us together. Staying connected to close family and friends is truly essential to our mental wellbeing. Now I know in the above tip I mentioned the benefits of detaching from digital devices, but this is one instance where we can use them to our benefit. A regular ‘zoom gathering’ can lighten the mood and help remind us of the simple things that bring us joy. For a little novelty, you could surprise someone with a gift in the mail, or even go old school with a hand written card. It might not have the same effect as a big old hug but it can make a huge difference to someone in these times of uncertainty. So stay connected, remain hopeful, and remember – just like our emotional states, what’s happening is temporary.

Who’s to say we can’t grow through a little adversity? Whether you’ve wanted to learn a new language, take up yoga, read a book or study something new, there’s no time like the present. For many of us the pandemic has provided a timely reason to slow down and assess what we want out of life. I’m mindful that we’re all at different stages of our journey – so for some people, unwinding and doing less might be just what is needed. For those of us ready to start something new, the time can be used for working on or discovering a passion project. With or without a pandemic, there will always be a reason to put things off, so something as basic as writing a list can spark motivation. Write down your goals or ideas and place them somewhere you look often (for me it’s the fridge). Let it seep into your awareness regularly (remember neurons that fire together, wire together). Engaging in creative downtime can also help maintain structure for those working from home. Without some structure to keep us accountable we can easily lose track of the days! It’s all about striking the balance in your schedule and attuning to your needs.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation in which you take your awareness to what you are sensing in the present moment without interpretation or judgment. Mindfulness practices include breathing methods, guided imagery and other techniques that help reduce stress and anxiety. Whilst it has been a central tenet of Buddhist philosophy for over 2,500 years, the last fifty years has seen an emergence in the western world. The effects of a regular mindfulness practice have been shown to improve several areas of mental and physical wellbeing. In fact, a study out of John Hopkins university showed that mindfulness was as effective as anti-depressants in alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety. Lastly, mindfulness can expand our capacity for gratitude and remind us of all the good in our lives – just what we need in the midst of these trying times. Below is a list of resources that includes mindfulness practices, counselling support and other strategies to ensure we move the body, calm the mind, and nourish the soul. Feel free to share these resources if you think they could help someone.


Older Persons Covid-19 Support Line (8.30AM – 6PM AEST MON-FRI) 1800 171 866

Lifeline 13 11 14 https://www.lifeline.org.au

Kids Help Line (Ages 5-25) 1800 55 1800 https://kidshelpline.com.au

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 https://mensline.org.au

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 https://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

QLife Counselling for LGBTIQA+ 1800 184 527 https://qlife.org.au


Shinrin Yoku: Healing in Nature

Introduction to Shinrin Yoku

Shinrin Yoku: The Art of Forrest Bathing

What is Mindfulness? With Jon Kabat-Zinn:

Your Thoughts Are Bubbles

10 Minute Mindfulness Meditation

Harry Bechara


Category : Anxiety & Blog & Depression & Featured & Health & Wellbeing & Lockdown & Lonliness

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