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Mental health tips for surviving quarantine

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By Psychologist Dr Eileen Feliciano and Genevieve Waldie

With all Australians now under home confinement directives, it’s a good time to think about taking extra care of our mental health.

1. Stick to a regular routine

Get showered and dressed each morning. Sleep regularly, stay hydrated & eat well. Exercise daily (outdoors if possible) and maintain social contact every day.

2. Lower expectations and practice self-acceptance

Accept everything about your current situation, and your life, as it is and without question. 

3. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and plenty of space

A lot of cooped up time can bring out the worst in everyone. Act with grace. Try to find separate spaces for everyone, and defined spaces for work and for relaxation.  

4. Limit COVID news especially around children

Find a reliable news source that you check, and set a limit (max 30 minutes, 2-3 times daily).  As well, find something funny each day – we all need a little comedic relief.

5. Remember that these are an unpredictable time for children too

Expect behavioural issues in children, and respond gently, and spend extra time playing with children. 

6. Notice the good being done in the world

There are many stories of people supporting one another in amazing ways.  Find ways, big and small, to give back to others. 

7. Find something you can control, and go for it!

Tidy your bookshelf, purge your wardrobe, organise your photos.  It helps to ground us when the bigger things are chaotic.

8. Find a long-term project

Now is the time to learn how to play the keyboard, read the Harry Potter series, or find your inner creative. Creativity can be a great release.

9. If you are having difficulty coping, seek help

There are mental health resources available to all. Seek and offer support to family, friends and neighbours.

10. Remind yourself that this is temporary

Although we have an unknown road ahead, remind yourself that it will pass and try to find any positives (no matter how small)  – work to find ways to accept and enjoy the confinement.

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