3 Tips to Manage Physical Symptoms During Lockdown
When you heard the news that we were returning to lockdown, what was your initial reaction? Perhaps you were gutted because your holiday plans were cancelled. Or maybe the memories of homeschooling came rushing back with an increased heart rate to match. Or did that nagging headache suddenly return with a vengeance? No matter your personal reaction, it is safe to say there is a wide spectrum of emotions being felt over the country today – and all are perfectly normal.
The key to managing through the next few days and weeks is self-awareness and self-care. Everyone handles these times differently. For some, especially those with health conditions or long-term pain, the increase in stress may increase symptoms. Mental health and physical health are inseparable, so it’s no surprise that lockdown can lead to changes in both emotional and physical symptoms. Here are a few essential tips that can help you survive lockdown:
1: KEEP MOVING
It can be tempting to take this time as an opportunity to go slow. For those who can’t continue working from home, it may seem the ideal chance to binge on your favourite Netflix series or catch up on sleep. And that is perfectly fine – in moderation.
But make sure you thread some movement into your day. Exercise not only helps keep you physically fit, but it will also do wonders for clearing your mental space. Just remember to stick to the lockdown rules!
2: TAKE SOME DEEP BREATHS
When stress levels rise, our breathing tends to become shallow, which sets a feedback loop to our brain telling us that we are “in danger”. The body responds to this message with several physical reactions, including increased tightness (back or neck pain, anyone?).
Take note of your breathing throughout the day (a reminder on your phone is invaluable), and pause for a few deep breaths when you can. It will reset and relax your body and can instantly reduce pain.
3: REACH OUT FOR SUPPORT
Physical distancing doesn’t have to equate to social isolation. Social support is more critical than ever, so call a friend, zoom family overseas or send a text message to check in on your mates. And if you need further support, remember health practitioners continue to provide telehealth consultations.
We were blown away by how valuable Online Consultations were during the last lockdown – so much so that many patients continue to use this option even when lockdown is lifted.
Cath Julius is the Clinical Director, Principal Physiotherapist & Head of Pilates at Freedom Health Group Ltd in Christchurch, NZ.
With over 20 years of clinical experience and expertise in Physiotherapy, Cath is a thought leader and clinical expert with special interests in hip conditions and Pilates as a form of exercise prescription. firstname.lastname@example.org