Lockdown and your mental health
Lockdown is never easy, and isolation can be extremely difficult, which is why it is so important to be kind to yourself during this time. Monitoring your mental health and ensuring you are looking after yourself and your family is vital.
The current situation not only in South Australia, but across the country, has caused a lot of anxiety due to its constant changing dynamics.
Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation Executive Director and SA Mental Health Commissioner John Mannion has some tips on how to look after your mental health during this time.
“The lockdown situation this time has almost been more difficult for everyone due to the pandemic fatigue we are feeling. Most of us feel like we’re at a loss and it will never end but it’s important to remember this is just a phase and we will come out of this,” Mr Mannion said.
“The important thing is to not put too much pressure on ourselves during this time.
“It’s hard when our routines go out the window, but a great tip is to try and keep them as much as possible. Set up a space for work or school without distraction and have breaks during the day. Try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time.”
Sleep and light, play an important part of staying mentally fit, particularly during lockdown.
Dr Jacob Crouse from the University of Sydney is researching circadian rhythms in mood disorders. The project, funded by Breakthrough, looks at how disturbances in sleep patterns are common in mood disturbances and could be a pre-cursor to more significant mental health issues.
“Bright light during the day sets our internal body clocks and is a natural medicine for mental health,” Dr Crouse said.
“A tip for lockdown is to try and to get exposure to sunlight when you wake up – sit on a balcony, in your yard, or by a window for half an hour in the morning after you wake up.”
Dr Crouse also said increased time on screens during lockdown – including computers, iPads, phones and televisions – can also negatively affect our body clocks.
“Bright light at night from screens can negatively affect our body clocks by suppressing the biological sleep signal melatonin and make it harder to fall asleep and wake rested. Try to avoid screentime 1-2 hours before bed – read a book, draw, chat with family or friends, or do some other type of calming activity you enjoy.”
Mr Mannion said even though we are isolated connecting to one another has never been more important.
“Pick up the phone, send that text, listen to a podcast and most importantly reach out if you need help.”
Professor Ian Hickie – Minding your Mind Podcast. Lockdown and your mental health: Minding Your Mind • A podcast on Anchor
Sydney University: Mind and Brain Centre: Home – Brain and Mind Centre (sydney.edu.au)
Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation: Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation (breakthroughfoundation.org.au)
SA Health: https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/