10 Practical Tips for Coping With Lockdown

August 19 brought with it a melancholic milestone for Melbourne residents... 200 days in lockdown. According to The Age, we could have paced the entire coastline of Australia in that time (without sleep). But that's proving a little difficult to do from the living room. There are, however, far more realistic goals and enjoyable activities we can focus on at home to counter the lingering side-effects of lockdown fatigue.

1. Set aside 15 minutes of self-care every day

Even 10 minutes of a calming, restorative and relaxing activity is better than nothing. 

  • Take a nice warm bubble bath and listen to Orinoco Flow - Andrew's favourite ;) Spark up that luxury candle you've been saving for a special occasion and leave your phone in another room. 
  • Invest in a fresh notebook and write a short journal entry every evening before bed. Journalling can help prioritise your problems, fears, and concerns, enhance your self-awareness and teach you about your triggers. 
  • Download the Headspace app on a 7-day free trial and get access to the full library of sleep exercises, audio experiences, meditations, workouts and inspiring videos to boost your mood. 

2. Reach out to friends & family 

Call or text family and friends as often as possible; for your benefit and theirs. Make the effort to get parents and grandparents setup in WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger group chats to keep the whole family engaged. Share photos of kids, pets, puzzles, gardens, cooking, hobbies, lockdown haircuts gone wrong... Anything that lightens the mood and brings friends and family closer together through regular contact. Did someone say, Zoom Trivia?! 

3. Pick up that long-ignored book 

You know the one. It's been staring you down from the bookcase for months. Put it beside your bed and replace it with your phone when your head hits the pillow. Set a goal for five pages a night. If that's easy, read until your heart's content. When you've finished, find your local Street Library in Moonee Valley within a 5km radius and pop by on your daily walk to swap it for something else. Signing up for a magazine subscription is another great way to increase your reading, and gives you something to look forward to while you wait for the next edition in the mail! 

4. Break a sweat

Or bust a stretch. Anything that keeps the body moving, lungs pumping and blood flowing. The team at Fusion Health Co in Essendon are running an online winter challenge, which includes their Fusion On Demand streaming classes - ideal for fitting in around home schooling when it suits you best.

For something a little different, workout alongside Cirque du Soleil artists with just a yoga mat, a resistance band (if you have one) and your own body weight. 

5. Take a virtual tour

We can't get to Venice right now (sorry Mirjana!) but we can live stream a breathtaking view of Cannaregio Canel and Guglie Bridge below (day viewing recommended for maximum action... the hustle & bustle of people and boats is a sight to behold!) 

Animal lovers can zone out to live web cams of puppy pens and shark lagoons thanks to the web cams on Explore, and art aficionados can virtually access over 2000 leading museums and archives from around the world thanks to Google Arts & Culture.

6. Establish a routine

For those not familiar with working from home, procrastination can get in the way of the work day. Set a realistic routine, which might include a set time for meals, breaks and powering down devices at the end of the day. Let family or housemates know your routine so they can support you in keeping to your schedule. 

7. Learn something new 

There's never been a better time to find a new hobby, whether it's pottery, growing vegetables, jewellery making, scrapbooking, woodworking, photography, learning French, painting portraits or starting a podcast.

Book a free online lesson
with Essendon's musical maestros at Melbourne Guitar Academy, or check out the cheap and cheery online classes from Melbourne's Laneway Learning, covering everything from macrame plant hangers to digitising family photos. 

8. Stay Hydrated 

Drinking water can significantly effect energy levels, brain function, mood and sleep quality - and you have an unlimited supply of it on tap! Drink more of this miracle liquid by keeping a water bottle on your desk and next to your bed to keep hydrated throughout the day, and get a refreshing hit first thing in the morning. Seriously, go and grab a glass right now - we'll wait. 

9. Write a letter

When was the last time you wrote a letter? How about the last time you received a letter? How did it make you feel? Letter writing is an excellent way to connect with family and friends while spending time away from screens.

Local artist (and our very own Assistant Commercial Property Manager) Lou Kopa from Totally Innocent offers a range of colourful and inspirational cards for sending to friends, as well as DIY card making kits for kids to give them a much-needed break from technology.

You can also register for the Connected AU Letterbox Project to be assigned a pen pal. The Letterbox Project coordinates the delivery of handwritten letters from the wider community to people experiencing isolation and loneliness. A handwritten letter is a beautiful reminder of the power of real connection and can have a profound and lasting impact for both the recipient and the writer.

We challenge you to read through some of the heart-felt feedback from letter recipients without crying happy tears of human connection. 

10. Catch some rays 

Fortunately, lockdown hasn't cancelled the sun, and your balcony and back yard are within a 5km radius. Lockdown is a great opportunity to finish those odd jobs around the garden, while getting some fresh air and vitamin D. Sunlight helps boost a chemical in your brain called serotonin, which can give you more energy and help keep you calm, positive and focused. 

Check in and ask for help. 

Check on your family. Check on your friends. And most importantly, check in with yourself and don't be afraid to ask for help if you're struggling emotionally, physically or financially. There is always help available.

? MindSpot Clinic www.mindspot.org.au
? National Debt Helpline www.ndh.org.au
? Foodbank Australia www.foodbank.org.au

If phone calls aren’t your thing, log onto eHeadspace from 9am to 1am to chat to a clinician.