Social distancing requires us to change the way we live out day-to-day lives: it's normal for that to feel daunting and scary.
Occupational therapist in mental health Caroline Thain said many Tasmanians are feeling lost and alone at the moment, as they try to adopt measures to save lives by slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Spending a lot of time inside our homes and limiting social contact with others naturally comes with mental health risks.
But Ms Thain said there are steps that people can try and limit that could make them feel more uplifted than they would otherwise.
Set a routine
The first thing you should try, she said, are behaviours that are as close as possible to what you would do to cheer yourself up under normal circumstances.
"There will be some things that people can continue to do, such as calling a loved one on the phone, or getting outside in the sun," she said.
"Then, there are other coping skills that will also be difficult, such as going to the gym, and of course limited physical contact with our friends and loves ones. So, we need to begin to thing about establishing new routines, that can still help us maintain our mental health.
"So, my next tip is about establishing new routines."
Ms Thain said routines offered an anchor or predictability during uncertain times.
If you are spending a lot of time in the house and are starting to feel a bit untethered, setting a routine for yourself and sticking to it can offer structure and stability in what is quite an unstable world.
"When we shift to studying or working from home, it can be helpful to keep some of your pre-existing routines the same - for example, a morning routine, a self care routine," she said.
"This is because often when we change everything all at once it can feel totally overwhelming.
"For some school children, it might be helpful for them to wear a piece of their uniform for example, as this reminds our brains that this is not home relaxing time, but study school time."
That can work for adults as well. Try putting shoes and a nice outfit on, even if you aren't planning on leaving the house.
Mix it up
Ms Thain's next tip is to break your day up into components of work, rest, productivity, and leisure - don't sit at a desk for 10 hours.
Think about activities that make you feel calm and grounded, and include those activities in your daily routine.
"For me, exercise is really important," she said.
"Other things like having a warm cup of tea at the end of the day, having a soothing bath - the kind of coping strategies you were using before Covid-19."
Don't forget your physical health
And keep in mind that physical health and mental health are bedfellows. If one falls, the other may as well.
"Ensure you are eating a good, balanced, nutritional meals with set meal times, as that can also help break up your day," MsThain said.
"Drink plenty of water and try and get into the sunshine and open air when possible."
Going to the gym is not advised at this time - but Healthy Tasmania are running daily livestream workouts.
They can be accessed through the Healthy Tasmania Facebook page - note there are two of these, the right one is a blue-and-white logo.
There is also the option of the Running Company's Wednesday 5.30pm run.
Usually a group activity, for the time being runners are hitting the pavement solo, but sharing selfies with each other along the way.
Another important facet of physical health is getting enough sleep.
Get into and maintain a good sleep routine - you'll be surprised at the difference if you go from erratic sleep to consistent patterns.
"And no scrolling on your phone into the night," MsThain said.
Relax before bed with a phone conversation with a friend, a TV show, or a good book instead.
One of the challenges of this time in all of our lives is to stay connected while we're social distancing.
This could be an opportunity to start up a pen pal relationship with your friends - there's nothing like an old-fashioned handwritten letter from a loved one to pick up the spirits.
If you don't want to go that far, phone calls with friends and family will help you stay plugged into your communities, even when you can't leave the house.
"Connection improves and lifts our mood in the darkest of times," Ms Thain said.
But in saying that...
Limit your screen time
"Especially your news feed in the context of COVID-19," she said.
"If you are more susceptible to feelings of anxiety, this is very important that you don't saturate yourself in national and/or international news that can feel very overwhelming.
"Use a reliable local news provider, and get your updates from your local health department."
(Promise we didn't ask her to say that.)
There are lots of scary, overwhelming things happening nationally and globally with the coronavirus pandemic - focusing on what's happening on your local community can help the world feel smaller and easier to get a handle on.
Acts of kindness
"Acts of kindness towards others can help you feel less powerless and can build a sense of positive self-worth," she said.
Many experts and researchers show that the best way to feel good, is to do something for somebody else.
"Even if its buying your local teacher a cup of coffee," Ms Thain said.
"You support a local business and also tell your teacher that they matter and you value them."
Try to treat your colleagues, friends, family and community members with kindness and compassion.
It will might make their day better, and it will definitely improve yours.
"We are all in this together, and whilst we have differences of opinion about things, remember it's more helpful to listen and validate someone's feelings than to judge and use blaming language," she said.
"Give yourself permission to still laugh and find the joy in everyday moments that continue around us."
Foster a pet
A time period where you will be in the home a lot is a great to time think about fostering a pet.
Fostering is different to adopting because you aren't committing to look after the animal permanently: you are looking after it until a permanent home can be found to free up space at an animal shelter and ensuring the animal has loving care in the interim period.
It could also be a great time to introduce a permanent new member of the family ... but first thing's first.
Katie Hicks is looking after four six-week old kittens, and has spent the last four years looking after a series of cats, kittens, dogs, and puppies - including, once a bulldog mother with nine pups.
She has the animals for an average of eight weeks before they go to their forever homes.
"We've had tears when they've gone back, don't worry," she said.
"But we're showing the kids that we're involved with - my son, his friends - that you can love something without having to own it.
"You can help something out and that's a reward in itself."
Organisations that are always looks for foster carers for their animals include
- RSPCA Tasmania (rspcatas.org.au/volunteering/become-a-foster-carer)
- North East Animal Sanctuary (neast.com.au/)
- Dogs Home of Tasmania (dhot.com.au/our-services/foster-care/)
- Just Cats Tasmania (justcats.org.au/1492-2/)
- Greyhound Adoption Program Tasmania (gaptas.org.au/fostering/)
For mental health resources see headtohealth.gov.au/
The latest Tasmanian Department of Health information here.
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