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How to care for your mental health during isolation

WORDS BY EMILY-LAYNE KAPETANOVIC

Seven easy ways to maintain your wellbeing.

It’s easy to feel anxious or stressed during these uncertain times but it’s important to keep well both physically and mentally. Although the physical side might be an obvious one, we may forget that our mental health plays a massive role in our wellbeing. Here are some tips on how to keep on top of your mental health.

Try to remain level-headed

While panicking is never helpful, it is especially unhelpful when you’re in isolation. Try to put everything into perspective. The isolation is only temporary and is put in place in order to slow the coronavirus and protect vulnerable people who are more prone to serious illness. In effect, by staying isolated you’re helping your community. You should also remain calm and follow any official advice.

Information overload: How to digest everything

Make sure the information you’re accessing is true and accurate. There is so much information on the web and it’s easy to get bombarded with facts – true and false. By only accessing accurate information, it ensures that you’re staying up to date with what’s actually happening in the world. Websites such as the World Health OrganisationAustralian Government Health Alert and smarttraveller.gov.au are good places to start as all the information is coming straight from the source.

Keep busy 

It might seem easier said than done, but the best way to feel better about isolation is to not think about it at all. You could read a book, have a movie marathon, complete a puzzle or play some board games. But if you want to take on something more, you could pick up a new skill or try something new. Not much of a cook? Maybe it’s time to get into the kitchen. You’ve got the time for it, plus it’ll take your mind off your isolation. Curb your boredom and keep your mind active.

Back to the basics

Now is the time to go back and reclaim the basics. Consider catching up on the sleep you lost. It may be easy to get caught up in movie marathons, but consider getting to sleep a little earlier than usual. You can also try and eat a little healthier. Chances are if you start considering what you’re eating a little more closely, you’ll start to feel better.

Maintain a healthy work-life balance

For those who are working at home, set strict working hours to ensure that the lines between work and relaxation don’t become blurred. It’s also helpful if you choose a room in your house (other than your bedroom) to dedicate to work. That way it’s clear when you’re supposed to be working and when you should be taking a break.

Keep your physical activity up

It’s scientifically proven that when you exercise your brain releases feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins. It’s understandable that physical exercise seems tough when you’re isolating but you could try some yoga tutorials on YouTube or be inspired by the man who ran the length of a marathon on his balcony while in lockdown in France. The possibilities are endless. 

Stay connected

In this age of mobile phones, keeping in touch with family and friends is only a click away. It’s important, not only for yourself but for everyone else, to check in with how everyone is doing. Whether its a 30-minute call or just a text, it’s guaranteed that the person on the receiving end will appreciate it. So go ahead and dial-up a friend. There’s also a bunch of apps such as House Party and Zoom where you can video chat friends and family and even play games.

This article originally appeared on Beat. If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.


As you’re no doubt already aware, coronavirus has well and truly taken hold in Australia, and an increasing number of us will be self-isolating or working from home. We’re living through a scary, uncertain time right now, and it’s easy to get swept up in the neverending cycle of negative news. Over the coming weeks, we hope to provide you with a little reprieve from all the heaviness, and lots of ideas for how to fill all that time you’ll be spending at home. Take care out there and don’t be a stranger. We’re all in this together. Love the FJ team xx

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