How to maintain your metal health with Coronavirus
With the rapid spread of the coronavirus and the ever-changing restrictions being placed upon us in a bid to control this outbreak, it’s easy for our mental health to suffer at this time.
As each day passes, I find myself becoming more worried and uncertain, and I know that I’m not the only one who is feeling the pressure.
I am, by no means, an expert on this topic, however as a podiatrist (and as a human being), I know how important maintaining mental health is in maintaining overall physical health and wellbeing.
Here are a few things that I’ve been doing to help keep myself as healthy as possible during this tough time.
Maintain a regular sleeping pattern
No matter what your work/school/study situation looks like currently, it is really important to maintain a regular sleeping pattern.
Sleep is super important as this is when we consolidate memories, neural connections are strengthened and we process information we have accumulated during the day.
Poor sleeping patterns can mean we suffer from tiredness during the day, poor concentration, irritability, aches and pains, and a weakened immune system.
Some tips to ensure a good sleeping routine includes going to bed at a consistent time and waking up at a consistent time, avoiding blue light stimulation via your smartphone or TV at least one hour before going to bed, and avoiding caffeine in the later parts of the day.
Eating a nourishing, well-balanced diet plays a vital role in maintaining overall health and wellbeing.
This includes eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals, and including lean meats, fish and poultry, and dairy products.
This may seem a little challenging at the moment in amongst all the panic buying going on, and I will admit to having several mini breakdowns every time I step into a supermarket.
What I find helpful is taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and focussing on what products I can easily obtain- all of the above-mentioned products.
Try to have a plan of what you want to buy so you can minimise your time in the supermarket and can reduce your waste of food, however, be flexible to adapt this plan as needed depending on availability of products.
It’s also a good idea to do so meal preparations and have some reserve meals in the freezer.
Research shows that regular physical activity can help to lift mood through the release of natural chemicals in the brain, can help to improve sleep, can increase energy levels and can help to distract you from daily worries.
Current guidelines recommend at least 150minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week- broken down this could be a 30minute power walk at least 5 times per week.
Even with social distancing restrictions in place, we can still go out for walks and runs as long as you’re in an open space, only go with others from within your household, and maintain your 4m distance from others.
Most local gyms have also made the switch to live streaming workouts, so if you’re already part of a gym- check in with them and see what they’re offering.
Otherwise, there are also plenty of free online exercise programs available which you can do in the safety of your own home.
This may be a good time to reevaluate your fitness goals and set yourself a new challenge based on what you can do at home and on your own.
I’m planning on using this time to work on my sprinting in preparation for when I can play touch football again.
Finding some calm and peace in all this chaos can be tricky, but again, is very important.
There are lots of types of relaxation including breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, visualisation, meditation, mindfulness and gentle exercises like yoga.
See the Beyond Blue website here for some downloadable relaxation techniques.
I started yoga last year and find this is super helpful in maintaining good mental health.
Again, most yoga studios are now live-streaming classes so check in with your local studio to see what they’re offering.
Otherwise, there are plenty of free yoga classes easily accessible online.
Connect with family and friends
We are now preferring the term 'spatial distancing’ here at Complete Podiatry.
We all know we need to physically stay away from each other to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, however, this does not mean we can’t connect with each other in other ways.
Reach out to family and friends you might not have spoken to recently.
Organise to share a meal over video chat, play a game together online, share a movie over the phone with someone.
Reach out and talk to each other about how you’re feeling.
It’s okay to not be okay and we’re all suffering at the moment, but having a strong network of people you can keep in contact with will help.
Get Some Professional Help
There’s no shame in reaching out to a professional to help you cope with negative feelings.
Again, there are plenty of services available to help if you’re experiencing a decline in your mental health.
Some online services include:
You can also seek support from your GP who can work with you to make a Mental Health Care Plan.
The allows you to have up to 10 subsided visits per year to access an Allied Mental Health Service including psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers.
Mental health care services are considered an ‘essential service’ and as long as you are well, haven’t travelled in the last two weeks, haven’t been in an area with large amounts of community transmission, and haven’t been in contact with a confirmed case, you are still safe to access these services in person.
And again, most clinics are now also offering online consults if you cannot leave your home.
For information on this, please speak to your GP or visit here
Ensure You’re Accessing Credible Information
I know whenever I open my social media I am bombarded with information about the COVID-19 virus, some of it true, and some of it not.
Although social media is a great way to stay connected with others, you may want to reconsider the way you use these platforms if they are adding to your stress and anxiety.
Stay informed and up-to-date with the latest information, but ensure you are doing this via a credible source.
Here is a list of Government websites with the most up-to-date information relating to COVID-19:
- Australia Government Department of Health
- Health Direct
- Smart Traveler
- World Health Organisation (WHO)
The Australian Government has also released an app called ‘Coronavirus Australia’ that you can download to your mobile device.
The Government is strongly recommending that everyone downloads this to stay up-to-date with the latest information.
How We Can Help
Allied Health Services such as Podiatry, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy are currently still considered ‘essential services’.
As such, we are still able to practice at Complete Podiatry.
We have, however, made a number of changes to ensure we can keep you and ourselves safe during this time.
Please read here for our latest updates on how we’re managing with the COVID-19 pandemic:
Why is podiatry still an essential service?
The answer is simple, unhealthy feet ruin amazing lives.
Maintaining your mental health is vital in maintaining your physical health, but your physical health is also a key player in maintaining your mental health.
Our trained podiatrists at Complete Podiatry are still able to help you with any foot or leg pain you may be experiencing, are able to work with you to develop an appropriate exercise program, and can offer advice on footwear, skin and nail issues and anything else foot or leg related.
As long as you are well, haven’t travelled in the last two weeks, haven’t been in contact with a confirmed case, and haven’t been in any of the areas with large amounts of community transmission, you are still safe to attend your podiatry appointments.
However, if you cannot leave the house, we are now also offering Telehealth consults where we can help you from the comfort of your own home.
Read more about this here:
As I said, I am not an expert in mental health, but I do know these few things are helping me through this challenging time.
Keep safe, keep up-to-date with the latest credible information, and keep supporting each other.
Need More Help?
If you have any questions about foot and leg health, telehealth or about how we are managing your podiatry needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, please send us a message or call 8330 0004 and we will be happy to help.
Yours in helping to build amazing lives from the feet up,