It can be easy to slip into bad habits or lose sight of our health goals when times are tough.
That’s why maintaining some healthy habits during the the government’s coronavirus Stage 3 restrictions is more important than ever.
So, here are some practical tips for maintaining and boosting your health at home, and how you can access our services for support.
Perhaps we can help you find a silver lining to the current situation!
1. Keep exercising
As well as boosting immunity, exercise can have a calming effect, keeping our minds clear and focused, and our anxiety contained.
That’s why it’s super important to keep exercising during the coronavirus Stage 3 restrictions.
There are lots of creative ways to create your own ‘home gym’, and you don’t need to go out and buy expensive exercise equipment. Grab a couple of soup tins from the kitchen cupboard – they make for great dumbbells!
In fact, many activities don’t require anything more than your body itself. For example, push-ups, planks and burpees are great for getting the heart pumping.
Remember to get outside as much as you can. Playgrounds and barbeque areas may be closed, but you can still go for a jog or brisk walk. Now there’s really no excuse to keep the dog locked up all day!
We suggest scheduling your exercise sessions. This will make it easier to stick to and help you get into a routine.
Not sure where to start? You can get a personal exercise program from our exercise experts. You can book in for a free initial telehealth session with our exercise physiologist or physiotherapists.
If you find exercising easier with other people, group classes are still available. We’ve reduced our exercise physiology class sizes to 1-3 people maximum. This means you can continue to maintain a social network during isolating times while at the same time help build up your immune system.
2. Establish an eating routine
For those of you who spend most of your time out of the house (at work, running errands etc), your daily routine may have centered around set meal and snack times.
However, with most of us either working from home, taking a break from work, or just spending more time in general at home, your old eating routines may have disappeared.
Without this same structure to your day, it’s easy to fall into bad habits. For example, having larger meals, extra snacking, or eating just for the sake of it! It’s easy to do, especially being so close to the kitchen.
To prevent overeating, and to promote healthier food choices, you could establish a new eating routine to match your needs at home. For example, consider these set times:
- Breakfast: 8am
- Morning tea: 11am
- Lunch: 1.30pm
- Afternoon tea: 4pm
- Dinner: 7pm
- Supper: 8.30pm
If you’re considering intermittent fasting as an option for weight management during isolation, an early morning black coffee could replace breakfast, while a herbal tea could replace supper at night.
You can take this a step further by planning what you choose to eat, and how much, at each set time. Always consider your energy needs – if you are less active at home, you may plan to eat less than usual (i.e. smaller or less frequent snacks).
If you would like some help establishing a new eating routine, or if you have other nutrition-related concerns, please speak with our in-house dietitian, Jessica Fuller. Private health and Medicare rebates are available.
3. Balance your thoughts
Worrying about diseases is a normal reaction. But excessive worrying can affect both our physical and mental health.
Fortunately, there are practical psychological skills to help you and your loved ones cope with anxiety.
When we get stressed about our health or risk of infection, our thoughts can become dark, brooding and pessimistic. Thoughts like, “How will I cope if I get sick?” and “I can’t deal with this”, are often triggered by stress, but they don’t help us. Negative and dark brooding thoughts will stop you doing things that can help.
Our thoughts are not always true or helpful. Challenge your negative thoughts by asking yourself what a friend would say in the same situation, or ask yourself what evidence do you have that you ‘won’t cope or can’t cope’? Whenever you recognise a negative thought, try to balance it with a realistic thought.
If you need help with balancing your thoughts, our psychologists Julie Paschke and Jenny Ricketts are here for you. You don’t need a referral to see a psychologist.
4. Shut down the noise (do things you like instead)
Stress is infectious, and often unhelpful. People tend to talk about things they are worried about. This creates lots of ‘noise’, which can create even more stress.
Give yourself permission to switch off ‘noise’ such as social media, news and the radio for most of each day.
Also give yourself permission to excuse yourself from people who are creating stress. Keep checking in to reliable news sources once or twice a day, but otherwise, turn down the ‘noise’.
Instead, replace it with things that can help you, including doing things you enjoy, like listening to music, riding your bike, yoga or even meditation.
You could also schedule a regular ‘event’, like a games night with those in your household, or your own version of a Gold Class cinema experience, complete with ice-creams and cardboard tickets that your kids can make.
Need help managing your stress levels? Have a chat with your Pascoe Vale doctor or psychologist – we’re always here to help.
Here’s how consultations are working
All consultations are currently being carried out over the phone or on video. In some cases you may be required to come in to the clinic.
| ||Telehealth |
(consult over the phone)
|Telehealth video |
(consult over live video)
*In-clinic option is only available if your practitioner determines that your health needs cannot be managed by phone or video, or for hands-on care like podiatry and physiotherapy.
We’re here to support you
In addition to things like staying at home and practising good hygiene, focusing on some healthy habits and routines during the coronavirus Stage 3 restrictions will hold you in good stead.
Remember the famous saying, ‘this too shall pass’. It may not feel like it, but things will return to normal.
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.
Last updated 24 July 2020