Written by the 2020 DHPS Committee
COVID-19, Coronavirus, the ‘rona—whatever you want to call it—we’re all sick of hearing about it (thanks, 2020)! Unfortunately, as Melbourne heads into its second lockdown, we’re all battling with the idea that this ugly pandemic will be hanging around for a while.
As we begin to adapt to the new normal and face various COVID-19-related challenges, such as financial insecurity, working from home, online studying, and social isolation, it’s important that we take care of our mental and physical health.
Here at the Deakin Health Promotion Society (DHPS), we know this is easier said than done during this tough time—especially for students. So we’ve put together a few of our top tips that we’ve used during lockdown to keep our health in check.
We hope you’ll find some inspiration in them!
‘Be kind to yourself. Speak to yourself as you would speak to your best friend.’ ~ Olivia Bottomley
‘Find a new hobby or do something you find particularly relaxing. I love plants and found that being creative and making terrariums helped me to relax and have a break from study. Limiting exposure to the constant COVID-19 updates on the news and social media can also reduce stress.’ ~ Elise Tulloch
Routines and Schedules
‘There are a few things you can do during lockdown to stay on top of your mental health. I’ve found that it has been very beneficial to maintain a consistent schedule each day to avoid slipping into a disorganised mess. Also, try to stay active throughout the day.’ ~ Joel Della Bosca
‘Make time to do things that you enjoy and that bring you happiness, such as reading, cooking, and physical activity. Make plans to socialise (from a distance online) and have fun with your family or whomever you are in lockdown with. I always find this boosts my mood.’ ~ Lily Wightman
‘List three things each day that you’re grateful for, whether it’s sunny weather, a delicious snack you had that day, or your health. Focusing on small pleasures in life will help you get through these hard times!’ ~ Lizzie Curran
Therapeutic Activities and Mindfulness
‘It’s important to take care of both your mental and physical health. The two go hand in hand. For a healthy body and mind, try to maintain a normal sleep schedule and consider taking up an old hobby of yours that’s relaxing to reduce stress levels. Occasionally, I like to play the piano or paint. These activities can be therapeutic and can help to decrease anxiety and stress. Practising mindfulness is another great approach to improving your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.’ ~ Emily Zhang
Recognise Small Accomplishments
‘Remember that even your smallest achievements are achievements and to notice them. Enjoy this time of solitude, but look forward to the days when you’ll be able to go on that holiday you were planning or even just see friends and family. Bring some form of consistency into your life, practice healthy habits, and don’t forget to reach out to the people around you.’ ~ Elise Carydias
If you are struggling, we encourage you to reach out for professional help. Some great resources are the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service (1800 512 348) and Lifeline (13 11 14). Deakin University is also offering counselling and financial assistance for affected students, and we encourage you to keep up to date with the university’s updates as we progress through the year.
We hope you found these health tips useful for managing your mental, physical, and social wellbeing. Whilst these tips may be relevant to the lockdown stage of the pandemic, maintaining your health and wellbeing should extend beyond this period. Juggling university studies, external commitments, and other stressors in life can be challenging at times. Remember to take care of yourself and allow time to relax, rewind, and refuel.
The Deakin Health Promotion Society strives to build a network for its members by connecting them with like-minded students, health academics, health professionals, and volunteer organisations. It is run by a team of student volunteers based at the Melbourne Burwood campus. Whether you are a health promotion student or just interested in health, you will find a place in this society.