Health & Wellbeing

How to keep your mental and physical health on track during Coronavirus

In a time of social distancing, it’s hard to remember to keep our mental and physical health on track. Hollie Hughes provides some advice on how to cope with stress and anxiety brought on by these unprecedented times.

It’s no exaggeration to say we’re all facing a pretty tough time right now.

With self-isolation, social-distancing, panic buying and job losses, it can be extremely difficult to maintain a positive outlook and stay on top of your physical and mental health.

While all of this may be leaving you feeling anxious and uncertain, there are a few little things you can do every day to help make sure you stay on track.

  1. Get outside if you can:

Depending on your circumstances this may not be possible, but if you can try and get out of your house for at least thirty minutes a day, even if it’s just in your own backyard. Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders to improve your mood and with gym’s closed it is an easy way to get your body moving and stay active.

  1. Stay hydrated and eat well:

This one may seem obvious but giving your body the nutrients it needs is essential in supporting both your physical and mental health. In times of stress, it can be easier than ever to over-indulge or avoid food altogether so remember to fuel your body with a balanced diet and plenty of water!

  1. Stick to a routine:

With social-distancing guidelines in place and many having to quarantine or self-isolate it can be easy to fall into a slump while spending all of your time at home. Setting up a new routine for life indoors and sticking to it will help you to feel more in control.

UON Student Central Counsellor Emma Kerr outlines the importance of doing your best to maintain a routine,

‘It’s especially important to continue to look after yourself both physically and mentally during this time, because we know that is one of the best ways to manage stress and anxiety. This means doing things like engaging in regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting a good night’s sleep, maintaining social interactions.’

  1. Take a break from the news:

While it’s great to be informed on the latest updates, the 24-hour news cycle and worldwide coverage of COVID-19 has made it hard to escape a constant flow of information. Take a break every now and then and put your device down for a while if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Emma says that sometimes the more information we consume the more anxious we can feel,

‘Sometimes consuming media information constantly can actually increase our anxiety, so remember that it is ok to take a break from this or set a limit on the time spent looking at updates.’

 When you’re feeling ready for more news it is important to go to trusted sources. For regularly updated information on Coronavirus from the World Health Organisation visit https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus and for information for UON students see https://www.newcastle.edu.au/covid-19/information-for-students#compulsory.

5. Physical distancing, not social distancing:

The thought of social distancing can be confronting for a lot of people, especially university students who are used to being around lots of people every day. Although you may not be able to hang out with your friends on campus at the moment, there’s nothing stopping you from having a Skype or Zoom catchup, finally calling your mum back or getting back in touch with an old friend.

In order to support students, UON Counselling and Psychological Services is running a live webinar titled, “7 ways take care of yourself during COVID19” next Friday the 27th March at 2pm. This webinar is a great opportunity to gain some more information on how to look after yourself during this difficult time. To register, email onlinecounselling@newcastle.edu.au

If you would like to talk with professional one-on-one UON Counselling offers individual appointments face to face and via Skype, Zoom and phone. To schedule an appointment email counselling@newcastle.edu.au. Additionally, the UON After Hours Support Line is available on 1300 653 007 or Text: 0488 884 165 between 5pm – 9am weekdays and 24 hours on weekends. Furthermore, if you or anyone you know are struggling during this time and need help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Feature Image by Cedric Lim from Pexels

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