8 ways to keep your mind healthy – Looking after your Health and Wellbeing during COVID-19

Everyone reacts differently in stressful situations and how you respond to stress can depend on many different factors. Our Wellbeing team has shared 8 suggestions to keep your mind healthy during this challenging period:

1. Acknowledge your feelings

When you block your emotions because they are overwhelming or conflicting it has a tendency to cause stress on the mind and body and can make those feelings stronger. It is helpful to acknowledge the feelings and thoughts you are having and not “beat yourself up” about them. Once you’ve acknowledged what’s happening in your heart and mind, then ask yourself, “What can I do to take care of myself at the moment?”

Try this:

  • Acknowledge how you feel – to yourself, to someone or something else, recognise how you feel. Do you feel sad, anxious, angry or overwhelmed?
  • Explore the possible cause – ask yourself gently and curiously, “Why am I feeling this way at the moment? Can I reduce the source of stress? What can I do to take care of myself while I’m feeling this way?” Sometimes we can’t understand what is causing an emotion, and that’s ok too. Just try and acknowledge it and then do what works for you to help “ride the wave”.
  • Own your response – Reflect on the way you have reacted and dealt with the situation. If this situation is unavoidable, think about your behaviour and how you could handle it differently next time.
  • Practise self-care – find activities that calm and relax you.

2. Switch off social media and learn the facts

While it’s not helpful to block our emotions and thoughts, it’s also not beneficial to get “lost in our head” and obsess over things.

A constant stream of COVID-19 coverage in our news feeds can keep us in a heightened state of anxiety. Limit (or purge) social media and pick one or two reputable resources to check when you need.

La Trobe has its own COVID-19 fact page which is updated frequently as the situation changes.

The World Health Organisation and the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria can keep you informed and armed with facts.

3. Stay connected

While we are told to socially distance ourselves, it is more important than ever that we stay connected. Remember, connection doesn’t have to mean in person! Here are some ways to stay connected to each other:

  • Try a virtual coffee date – using an online video platform, call up a friend, make a drink of your choice and have a coffee date.
  • Similarly, plan a movie night with friends on video – pick a movie, set up the video stream, start the movie at the same time and watch together.
  • Get familiar with Zoom – use Zoom to start an online study group with classmates.
  • Reach out to your neighbours – check in on the people living around you to see if they need help, especially if they are elderly or vulnerable.
  • Check on your friends – ask if they are OK.

Identify your own biggest supports during this time, get in touch with them and have a conversation about how you are feeling.

You can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 f you are experiencing any personal crisis, including loneliness 24 hours a day.

4. Exercise

Exercise has been proven to be extremely helpful in combatting anxiety and depression and can help for COVID-19.  The good thing is, you don’t have to go to the gym or run on a treadmill to exercise! Remember to take advantage of the sunshine when out and get some fresh air where possible, being mindful of keeping a reasonable distance from others. Take a long walk or go for a bike ride.

5. Eat well and drink water

Ensuring we eat well and stay healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak and in the lead up to winter is important while self-isolating at home.

6. Practise mindfulness

Mindfulness is a great skill to develop during trying times such as these. COVID-19 can make you feel stressed and anxious and practising mindfulness is about learning how to keep calm and stay present in the moment.

Did you know the University has its own set of mindfulness tracks to assist you with your practise?

Check out these apps which offer free guided meditations as well as beginner tracks.

Headspace App

Smiling Mind

7. Keep yourself busy at home in social isolation

Keep your mind busy by starting a new project or finally doing those things you’ve always wanted to start but never had the time to do!

8. Sleep well

Sleep plays an important part in regulating our emotions. Try and make getting between 6-8 hours of sleep a night a priority to help combat stress and anxiety around COVID-19.

More practical suggestions or supports?

Make an appointment for Counselling, Disability Advisor or wellbeing support.

If you have any concerns about unacceptable behaviour, you can contact our Speak Up Services.

Appointments are available for all services:

  • In-Person Face to Face
  • Via Video (Zoom)
  • By Phone
  • If you are currently unwell or have flu-like symptoms and wish to make an appointment for one of our services, we recommend you have a zoom or phone appointment.
  • Please also be aware that an after hours service is also available by calling 1300146307 or text 0488 884100. This service operates 5pm-9am on weekdays and 24 hours during weekends and public holidays.