Mental health is a serious issue at the best of times. With the arrival of Covid-19 and various restrictions keeping people home bound, health professionals can’t help but be concerned about the ramifications of social distancing on the mental health and well-being of Australians. There is no denying that these restrictions can and will have an impact on mental health.
While there are a lot of things at the moment that are beyond our control, looking after ourselves is one of the things we can control. How do we do this?
Dan Engles, Managing Director of Visa Solutions Australia recently sat down with Dr Miles Upfold of Up! Chiropractic to discuss not only the impacts of social distancing on our health but also how we can keep healthy and continue to have a positive mindset during this time.
One of the most important points Dr Upfold makes is that it is important to maintain a routine. For many, working from home has become the norm and unfortunately for some this may have eliminated even the smallest bit of movement that people may have had. He emphasises that keeping any of your pre-isolation routine is a great first step in maintaining a healthy mind and body. If you were exercising at 6am every morning prior to these restrictions being in place then you should continue to do so. You may not be able to go to the gym but you can still go for a walk or a run.
He also draws on the fact that in healthy communities, individuals tend to live longer lives. The reason for this is their everyday social interactions and a sense of purpose; older people may still be working in some capacity or are considered useful within the community. While we could argue that social interaction is ‘banned’ at the moment, social interaction can be as simple as a smile to someone you pass in the street or a quick chat with the person making your takeaway latte at the local café. These small gestures go a long way to make you and other people feel good.
While we’ve been instructed to keep our distance, we need to realise it’s OK to talk to people. Media sensationalism has instilled fear in people to the point where everyone is afraid to get too close to anyone they pass in the street for fear they’ll contract Covid-19. Dr Upfold stresses that it’s important to understand how Covid-19 is transmitted and that its perfectly safe to acknowledge people you pass by. Understanding the virus eliminates the fear and enables people to interact in a limited yet healthy capacity.
So, what are Dr Upfold’s top two tips for getting through these restrictions and maintaining good mental health?
While there is a wealth of advice that Dr Upfold can give, he says the two most vital things people can do are:
- Exercise outdoors to not only keep active but to also get vitamin D
- Support each other in the community whether it’s supporting a local business or just saying hi to someone you pass in the street
We may not be able to interact as we normally do with family and friends so it’s important that we don’t underestimate the healing power of a phone call or video chat!
If you would like to view the whole interview with Dr Upfold, visit this link!