A 77-day lengthy lockdown in Melbourne has finally ended, and the city is now open again. Melbourne's residents have sacrificed so much to maintain their mental and physical health during the lockdown, which is itself a challenge.
Australia's leading telehealth service reported a surge in mental-health-related consultations and prescription requests during the last lockdown. According to InstantScripts, a prominent online healthcare provider based in Melbourne, antidepressant medication requests have risen by 82% this year.
Dr Andrew Thompson, a registered doctor at InstantScripts, says that the lockdowns have had a devastating impact on Aussies, and they will continue to do so long after restrictions are lifted.
"The isolation, disconnect, financial hardship, and relationship problems that Aussies are experiencing during this period is incredibly disheartening and has likely brought symptoms to the surface that wouldn't be experienced under normal circumstances. In fact, many of my patients are showing first-time presentations for mental health disorders."
While Australians are returning to their usual routine following the lockdown, the pandemic has altered many aspects of our lives.
According to recent research, many women struggled with the burden of stressful lockdown care, including homeschooling. Parents can undoubtedly feel relieved with schools reopening part-time on-site in Melbourne and full-time in other parts of Victoria. Despite this, they might still feel overwhelmed. Dr Thompson suggests discussing parenting roles and responsibilities in relationships and ensuring people have time to focus on their self-care.
"It's difficult not to draw comparisons with others, and parenting can be a competitive sport for some, but remember that each family dynamic is different and only has to work for you and your loved ones. If the stress becomes overwhelming, don't be afraid to reach out to a friend or loved one for support or a medical professional. Relationship Australia (1300 364 277) is a free telephone counselling service that can also provide necessary support and advice."
Furthermore, the pandemic has redefined the work culture worldwide, and many companies have allowed their employees to work from home. As a result, many people have benefited from this new work-life balance. However, it has also increased levels of stress and anxiety among the workers. According to Thompson, stress and pressure are often caused by the lack of separation between office and family time.
"It is becoming easier for work to creep over into leisure time well into the night or even on weekends. Try to work in a space that is separate from where you relax or enjoy family time. Make a point of shutting down your computer at the end of the day so you're not tempted to check emails late at night. A healthy ritual to end your working day, for example, a walk, a cup of tea or a brief meditation, can also be helpful."
He also adds that scheduling social time and breaks for one's day while working from home is also essential. Combining these breaks with exercise could also be a great way to maintain physical and mental wellbeing.
Dr Thompson advises Australians to regularly check on their mental and emotional wellbeing and look out for any changes in weight or appetite, excessive or constant feelings of fear, worry or extreme guilt, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, low motivation, inability to concentrate, as well as difficulty maintaining social relationships.
If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues, you should seek help from a healthcare professional. A Telehealth services like InstantScripts can help you begin the conversation and start treatment.
Additionally, you can get help from Lifeline Australia (13 11 14), Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636), SANE Australia Help Centre (1800 187 263), Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), MensLine Australia (1300 789 978) and many more.
For more tips mental health tips check out How To Boost Your Mood During A Lockdown
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