Easy and practical tips to stay connected, stay healthy, stay active and stay informed so that you can keep yourself, the people you care about and your community safe.
The Coronavirus pandemic and the unusual conditions that have come with it, can leave us feeling stressed, anxious and alone. To help our families, clients and community members get through this tough period, we will be sharing a weekly tip here to help you cope with COVID-19.
Over the past 36 weeks we have shared a weekly tip on how to cope with COVID-19. With the festive season around the corner and things easing up in our communities as we see case numbers at just a few or even zero, we’ve decided to finish up our COVID-19 tips and start fresh in 2021.
As our last tip, we want to encourage everyone to stay informed. We will continue to provide updates on the COVID-19 situation on our website. Simply check-in by visiting https://rfbi.com.au/covid19/.
Make any catch ups you have, active
They talk a lot about having walking meetings at work, but did you know the simple idea of walking whilst socialising with loved ones can help you get your steps in and give you time to catch up? Walking catchups are a wonderful way to improve your mental health, physical health and overall wellbeing.
If you can’t make it outdoors for your walk, why not stroll in the garden or around your house. 🍃
Enjoy an online movie
Looking for a fun way to reconnect with friends or family? Find a time to watch a movie together online. For example, Netflix Party allows friends to watch its shows online, synchronise video playback and a group chat function. There are also other apps that offer the same option.
It’s a lot of fun to choose a movie and watch it together, even from apart. And it is easy to hit play at the same time, watch and chat throughout via the chat feature or another app. The hardest part is finding the right movie!
It’s time to get the popcorn ready.
Stay informed through social connections
The social connections you have can be a calming influence on your life and overall health. But you can also be a calming influence on them.
If friends, colleagues, loved ones or people you are caring for are panicking, try to help them gain some perspective on the situation. Refer them to reputable sources of news and information.
Being a positive, uplifting influence in these anxious times can help you feel better about your own situation too.
Stay mentally active
We’ve talked a lot about staying active during COVID-19 physically, but it is also important to stay active mentally. This is particularly important during lockdown.
Mentally stimulating activities will keep your brain in good shape. Try some of the below:
– Do a crossword puzzle.
– Play a card game, such as Solitaire.
– Learn to play a musical instrument.
– Do some meditation or listen to some relaxing music.
– Use a journal to write down your thoughts and feelings.
– Do something creative, such as sewing or painting.
How to stay healthy on a daily basis
The Coronavirus numbers have reduced significantly in Australia, but it is still important to put your health first. Being healthy should be treated as a daily priority. Try following these tips every day:
– Speak to a friend or family member to stay connected.
– Maintain a regular routine.
– Do 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
– Try to choose healthy foods that nourish your body and support your mental health.
– Enjoy an activity that will help strengthen your brain, such as a card game or crossword.
– Drink eight glasses of water.
– Take a break from the news coverage about COVID-19.
– Remember to take your prescribed medications.
– Do something you love, such a hobby.
Write a letter
While technology is great, there is sometimes nothing better than receiving a handwritten letter or card. For those who don’t have easy access to technology, it’s a simple way to stay in touch, particularly with your overseas friends or family. It may not be immediate interaction, but it can be a nice way to let people know that you’re thinking about them.
Sending a letter is easy! If you’re on a short walk and the person lives nearby, you can drop the letter in their mailbox, or put a stamp on it and pop it into a postbox.
It will put a bigger smile on someone’s face than a simple text and it’s a nice break from the weekly bills.
Avoid news overload by using the SIFT technique
Now more than ever, it’s important to stay well informed about what is happening in your home, community and even around the world. However, consuming too much news about COVID-19 can be unhealthy, particularly if it includes fake or misleading news. Fortunately, there are things that can help you sort fact from fiction. The SIFT technique can help you filter and assess the news you consume, meaning you can stay well informed while protecting your mental health.
It involves following four simple steps:
Stop and think before you take anything as fact.
Investigate the source – who is providing this information?
Find better coverage. Cross-check the information with trusted sources.
Trace claims, quotes, and media to the original context. In other words, click back to find the original source of the information.
Gaining a sense of control over what you consume and limiting your exposure to unhelpful and/or untrue information may help support your mental health during this challenging time.
Safe safe whilst exercising during COVID-19
Exercise is important for kids and adults alike. Whilst it can be a little more difficult to get out and about for your daily exercise due to COVID-19 restrictions, there are ways to exercise safely during COVID-19.
- Don’t exercise or venture out and about if you have a fever, cold symptoms or a cough. Seek medical advice as soon as possible.
- Practice social distancing when you do go out for a walk, run, or exercise at a venue. Make sure you wash your hands regularly whilst you are out, as well as before and after your exercise.
- Follow the restrictions placed on the number of people allowed in an outdoor area or venue.
- If you are building your fitness up again, start slowly so you don’t overdo it.
- Choose the right exercise to suit your needs and health.
- Try an exercise class at home – there are plenty that can be found online.
There are plenty of fun ways to stay active, even during COVID-19. Find something you enjoy, and it will make your daily exercise easy.
Look after your mental health
Remember to look after your mental health always. It has been an unusual year for all. And it’s OK to feel like you are not OK.
There are some steps you can take to look after your mental health today, tomorrow and beyond:
- Remember to maintain perspective. Those with the disease haven’t done anything wrong and the experts around the world providing advice are finding out more information about the disease as we go, which means their advice will change as they become more informed.
- Stay calm and practical. Continue to do the right things as advised by leading authorities.
- Be selective with the media and information you consume and rely only on credible sources.
- Stick to a routine. Ensure you get plenty of sleep, eat nutritious foods and enjoy regular physical activity.
- Seek support if you need it. Organisations such as Beyond Blue are at hand if you need further support with your mental wellbeing.
Catch up on a call
Whilst technology has really advanced the way we can reach out to one another, no matter how far away we live, there’s nothing better than a good old phone call.
Sometimes when you are too busy to sit and speak to each other visually on a screen, it is easier to pick up the phone and chat while you continue to do the things you need to.
Why not give a family or friend who you haven’t spoken to for a while a quick phone call! It’s sometimes nice to hear their voice and catch-up while you are on the go.
Follow only trusted sources on social media
Unfortunately, with any big news item, there are often sources that spread either fake or misleading information. These days, a lot of both the factual and misleading information is easily accessible via social media.
Information that is not factual about the pandemic is useless and can cause unnecessary concern from readers.
To avoid misleading information, follow only trusted sources on social media for your updates. These could include:
- Federal Government sources, such as @healthgovau on Facebook.
- State Government sources, such as @NewSouthWalesHealth or @ACTHealthDirectorate on Facebook.
- RFBI for updates on the steps we are taking to protect residents in our residential care services (our Facebook handle is @RFBIagedcare).
- The World Health Organization (@WHO) for global updates regarding COVID-19.
If you are uncertain about a source you are reading an update from, always check a trustworthy site as well.
Sneak movement into your everyday routine
Struggling to make time for physical activity throughout the day? Try sneaking a little bit of movement into your everyday routine to make getting your step count and exercise up.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about how this tip could work for you.
- Plan to do a chore or two each day that requires physical activity.
- Make the most of TV ad breaks by getting off the lounge and moving around.
- Stand and walk around whilst talking on the phone.
- Do an extra lap to the bedroom when putting away the washing.
Practice good self care
In times of heightened stress, it is more important than ever to take time to rest and relax.
Every one of us have our own, unique way to unwind. It doesn’t matter what it is, it matters that you make time to do it.
Maintaining a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, making time for physical activity (even at home) and getting plenty of time for self-care will do wonders for your overall mood and wellbeing.
Play an online game
Missing Monopoly night with the family? Whilst it is harder to gather at the moment, there are still some great ways to keep your brain stimulated digitally. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
– Download and play board games on your computer or tablet.
– You can easily play word games or even complete a virtual jigsaw on the go from your phone.
– Organise a regular video chat with the family and make it ‘games night’. Choose a game that will work on the screen, such as Charades, Pictionary or Trivia, and have some fun.
– Find a digital game that allows you to verse or collaborate with friends and family.
Disconnect from news and social media
Information is extremely important as we learn more about the COVID-19 pandemic and preventative actions we can take. However, it’s also important to look after your health and wellbeing first, which might mean taking a break from listening to the news each day for your mental health. It’s ok to need a break! Here are some tips on how you can disconnect:
– Turn off notifications on your phone.
– Pick up a non-computer-based hobby.
– Do something fun, like reading, listening to music or exercising.
– Don’t read the news right before bedtime to help you get a better sleep.
– Establish daily routines for self-care: work, eating, chores, leisure, family-time, reaching out to your community and getting a solid sleep each night.
Do enjoyable things that are good for you
We often avoid doing the things we normally do when we are stressed – this includes activities which are good for our physical health.
It is essential that we make time and effort for things that we find valuable, meaningful and fun, even if we can’t do them exactly the same way due to quarantine or isolation.
We all have activities and hobbies which we enjoy, many of which are more fun to do with company. Try making a plan to do those fun activities regularly. It will give you something to look forward to, which is important in motivating you to stay physically healthy and active.
Listen to your favourite music playlist
Music is a source of comfort for many and has a miraculous way of making us feel better.
Many studies have shown that music increases blood flow, eases pain and lowers stress-related hormones. And it can carry us back to special memories or make us feel supported and understood on our loneliest of days.
Our residents love music and a good sing-along. It’s hard not to get involved.
So why not create a list that makes your heart sing!
Enjoy a virtual activity with your friends or family
Technology has been a helping hand during this pandemic, allowing people to stay connected. If you are missing some of the face-to-face activities you enjoyed with friends and family, why not try a new virtual activity together.
There are so many fun options to choose from – here are some to get you started:
- Learn a new skill together. There are lots of guided tutorials on YouTube you could try together, such as painting or drawing, origami, makeup, dancing or cooking. Recruit a few friends to all attempt the same tutorial and share your results.
- Sign up for a fitness class. Many gyms are now offering online classes including yoga, pilates, and other living room-friendly exercises. Some are even free! Invite a few friends and sign up to a class together so you can keep each other motivated.
- Host a trivia competition. Organise a time for a virtual chat and take turns preparing a round of trivia. It’s a great way to keep the mind active and have a bit of fun from afar.
- Challenge one another to complete the things you’ve been ‘meaning to get to’. Most of us have something we’ve wanted to complete, but keep putting it off. From organising the pantry to painting a piece of furniture, encourage one another and then share your before and after pictures to celebrate.
Use simple strategies to help ease information overload
There are so many sources of news and advice on the COVID-19 pandemic. With changes happening daily, it’s no wonder some people experience information overload and feel overwhelmed. 🤯
You have the power to choose how much information about the pandemic you watch or listen to each day to help. These simple strategies can help you ease information overload throughout your day.
🕰 Try limiting the amount of time spent reading or listening to new stories about the pandemic.
🧘 Schedule plenty of time in your day for other things, rather than just keeping your eye on the news.
✅ Be careful of misinformation from unreliable sources. Choose trusted and credible organisations to source your updates from, such as the World Health Organization or Australian Government.
You can also visit our RFBI dedicated COVID-19 page, which is regularly updated to keep you informed of changes and our response to keep our residents, clients, families and staff safe.
Don’t sit all day
Do you work from home? It can be too easy to get caught up with the task at hand and let hours slip away without getting out of your chair.
Are you guilty of this? Remember to make time in your day to take breaks and get moving. Grab a drink, snack or simply step outside for a breath of fresh air.
The same goes if you are watching TV – getting up during every commercial or episode and doing a lap around your home or an active chore can do wonders for your wellbeing and step count for the day. For example, throw some clothes in the laundry, do the dishes or take out the garbage.
You will feel so much more productive and healthier whilst at home.
Watch a favourite feel good movie!
If you have ever needed an excuse to spend an afternoon in front of the screen, this is it! Cinema therapy is a real thing and it can do remarkable things for your wellbeing.
If you could use a pick-me-up, watching a favourite movie can give you a break from whatever is bothering you, encourage a built-up emotional release, make you feel happier and release stress.
Connect with loved ones without the internet
Whilst the pandemic has encouraged many to embrace the internet as a means of staying connected with family and friends, there are still other ways to keep relationships strong whilst contact is limited.
📱 Why not arrange a regular weekly time for a phone call catch-up.
📨 Postal services are still operating, so why not write a letter and send it to someone you care about.
📦 If you are looking for a thoughtful gift for a friend or loved one’s birthday, have something delivered directly to their door.
Restrictions are beginning to ease, which means you can start visiting friends and family in their homes but remember to stay safe!
If in doubt, visit Government’s Coronavirus Australia app to stay informed
If you are looking for accurate information about the Coronavirus and the actions being taken in Australia to flatten the curve and prevent the spread, download the Government’s Coronavirus Australia app.
The app provides up-to-date, official information and advice about the COVID-19 situation, allows you to check your symptoms and can keep you notified regularly with urgent information and updates.
For information visit: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/coronavirus-australia-app
Exercise for relaxation
Yoga is a perfect stress reducer and mind/body relaxer. But if practicing yoga on a regular basis is not your thing, you can still benefit from diaphragmatic breathing.
Find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes and take slow deep breaths, expanding the diaphragm with every inhale and exhaling completely.
“Talk” to the muscles in your body and tell them to relax and melt. Softening the jaw releases tension in the neck, shoulders and hips and leads to total body relaxation. Deep breathing can be done any time, anywhere.
Celebrate the wins – no matter how big or small!
We’re always quick to notice and feel guilty about the bad things that happen, but rarely take the time to celebrate the little wins that happen each day. During a time when there is a lot of uncertainty, give yourself leeway and celebrate the small things, as well as those big achievements, every day.
A win could be getting some exercise, enjoying a nutritious meal, ticking something off your to do list, doing something creative, or even just doing something nice for someone else.
A great way to celebrate is to write your wins down on paper and reward yourself with a favourite food or drink, or involve others in your celebration.
Make your catch-ups virtual
Our families, friends and colleagues are all important relationships that need to be nurtured, especially through times of adversity.
Making your catch-ups virtual is a creative way to stay connected, even when we must be apart.
- Schedule a virtual dinner date. Many platforms offer multi-person video calling including Whatsapp, Skype, Google Hangouts, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and House Party.
- Have a distance movie night. The streaming service Netflix is offering ‘Netflix Party’, which synchronises the video and creates an online chat for the people in your group who are watching together, but separately. If you use a different service, counting-down to hitting ‘play’ over the phone and texting while you watch will work too.
- Enjoy after-work mocktails. Brush up on your bartending skills and share some mocktail recipes with your friends.
Although it might feel strange at first, be bold with suggesting new ways for your friends and family to maintain your bond.
Selectively choose what and when you listen to news
There is a lot of information being circulated regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and while it’s important to stay up-to-date, it is best to choose your news sources wisely.
Opt for news sources that are reliable, such as information from the World Health Organization or Australian government.
It’s also a good idea to control when and how much news you take in. Your mental wellbeing is extremely important at this time, so if you are feeling unsure or anxious about the circumstances, try to give yourself a break from social media and news sources that might prompt a negative reaction.
For the latest updates from the Australian Government, visit https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-current-situation-and-case-numbers
For information from the World Health Organization, visit https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1
And of course, you can also visit our dedicated COVID-19 page if you are looking for updates relevant to our RFBI services at https://rfbi.com.au/covid19/
Join a virtual yoga or pilates class
Participating in a healthy and positive mental-health practice can help you manage stress during the coronavirus lockdown.
Stretch classes are great for the mind, for focusing, balance, preventing injuries and building core strength and overall wellbeing. There are a number of fitness, yoga and pilates studios now offering classes online, allowing you to easily practice at home. Best of all, many classes are free or are being offered at a heavily reduced rates.
Here are a few to try:
- https://www.sydneyyogacollective.com/ is offering regular classes for just $10 for unlimited access.
- Melbourne’s https://goodvibesyoga.com.au/ virtual-studio is offering free short flor classes and meditations.
- https://www.iamthat-yoga.com/online-yoga/ offers a variety of live and pre-recorded meditation and yoga classes online for $9 a week or free for those who can’t afford it due to the current crisis.
- https://www.pilatesanytime.com/mx/pilates-beginners-seniors offers a 15 day free trial for seniors beginner yoga.
For more options, @Broadsheet has pulled together a great list, visit https://www.broadsheet.com.au/national/active/article/live-list-online-exercise-classes-do-your-living-room.
List the things you are grateful for each day
How we think has a great impact on our physical, mental and emotional health.
A great way to keep anxiety and bad thoughts at bay is to start your day by listing the things, and people, for which you are grateful. It can be on paper or just in your head.
It’s also a great way to end your day, so feel free to do both!
Create fun and constructive ways to connect with your family at home
While many families are used to spending some time together, it can take some adjusting to spend 24/7 under the one roof!
It’s important to focus on the benefits and remain positive about the extra time together. Try creating some fun ways to connect and enjoy time together.
- Use your front yard or driveway as a spot to put camper chairs and a fold out table to have some yummy drinks and snacks whilst taking in your neighbourhood.
- Have one day where everyone dresses up in bright colours – you could even choose a different colour to wear on that day each week.
- Decide on a renovation project or tidy-up job that everyone can be involved in, such as cleaning out a spare room or revamping an old table with some fresh paint.
- As well as finding onscreen video games you can all enjoy indoors, play games outside. Some popular choices are hide and seek, frisbee, backyard cricket or invent a game together.
Coming up with things to do together can be fun in itself!
Visit rfbi.com.au for the latest updates
There’s a lot of information going around regarding COVID-19. We’ve brought together the facts and translated them simply for you to understand on our dedicated Covid-19 page. The information is updated regularly so you can stay informed of changes and our response to protect our residents, clients, families and staff as things change and based on advice from our government and health authorities.
For information on Government initiatives and the latest coronavirus statistics please visit health.gov.au.
Dance the COVID-19 blues away
Music has a way of making us feel good and dancing is a fantastic way to boost the endorphins as well as stay active and fit. So turn up the radio, put on your favourite CD or stream a live concert and dance like no one is watching.
Your body, mind and spirit will thank you for it.
Tame anxious thoughts with facts
How we think has a great impact on our physical, mental and emotional health.
When we are feeling anxious, we tend to overestimate the danger in a situation and underestimate our ability to handle it. To overcome anxious thoughts, try to think of different interpretations to the situation that’s making you anxious, rather than jumping to the worst-case scenario, look at what has gone well during the day rather than what hasn’t. Look at the facts for and against your thought being true.
Another useful tool is list 3 things that makes you happy at the start or end of the day or both! It helps keep positive thoughts front of mind.
For more information and tips on how to managing anxiety please visit beyondblue.org.au.
Use video or phone to stay connected with loved ones
When you can’t catch up in person, seeing each other via video or chatting on the phone is the next best thing. There are a range of free and easy to use apps available for you to stay connected with your loved ones. Most can be used over a smart phone or computer/tablet.
Check out the links below to a few commonly used apps:
Stay tuned for more tips coming up next week!