Generic photo for mental health. Picture: Dean Simon
Generic photo for mental health. Picture: Dean Simon

How to stay healthy mentally while self-isolating

HEALTH workers are urging people to look after their mental health as many begin working from home or self-isolating due to the pandemic.

Sarah James, a specialist services manager and social worker for Community Lifestyle Support, said people may not realise the impact not going to work could have on their mental health.

“We don’t realise how much getting up and leaving the home every day to go to work influences our actions and emotional wellbeing,” Ms James said.

“For people who live on their own, their greatest daily social interaction usually occurs at work.

“If there is no need to do this, whole aspects of our routine can fall by the wayside.”

Ms James said sometimes the effects of isolation could be subtle and creep up on you.

“It takes away our incidental conversations that often enable us to share frustrations, wins and have a laugh which can help put struggles into perspective,” she said.

“It can impact people’s routines in ways that they don’t notice; it can disrupt the supports they rely on and lead to a loss of control which over time can lead to people feeling gloomy and down.”

Social media use might rise while self-isolated and while Ms James said it was good to use it to keep in touch and watch funny videos, it also has a great deal of negativity.

“If your feed is full of doom, gloom and quite frankly hysteria this will not help your mental health,” she said.

In light of the effects of self-isolating and working from home, Ms James said she and the team from Community lifestyle Support had come up with some strategies:

• Try and keep a sense of structure about your bedtime and mealtime routines.

• Try to find a balance between active entertainment, such as organising cupboards, playing with pets and cooking, and passive entertainment, such as Netflix, reading and gaming.

• Find time for sunshine.

• Keep in contact with friends and family.

• Set small challenges for success.

If you or someone you know needs someone to talk to call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.



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