opinion

Sydneysiders ask Victorians their best advice to get through lockdown. Here's what they said.

Many of us aren't feeling our best right now. 

Just over a year after our last full-city lockdown, the people of Greater Sydney are right back in it again. 

Only this time feels different. 

We're confused, upset, unmotivated and just feeling a bit over it. But as we learnt last year, and our friends in the Northern Beaches learnt over Christmas, we'll come out the other side. 

So, to help us get through the next little while, we asked Victorians, who most recently went through a mammoth lockdown, to share their best tips on Instagram. 

And you best believe they delivered (thanks neighbours). 

 From how to keep busy to how to juggle kids during lockdown, here's what they said.

Plan something to do every day. 

"Plan something for every day - even if it’s just walking around the block or baking something, or finishing a Netflix series. You’ll have something to look forward to. Netflix parties and FaceTimes with friends were a godsend for me. We even had themed dress up nights." 

Small things like making your bed goes a long way.

"As someone who lived in Victoria last year and is now in Sydney, make sure you make your bed, shower and get fresh air."

Routines actually help. 

"Keep a routine! Get up at the same time, get ready, get dressed. I felt when I stayed in my pjs all day or had a slow day, by the end of it I was feeling really low. Oh, and don’t forget to bake banana bread!"

Be gentle with yourself. 

"It’s ok to be unproductive and have bed days. Never feel guilty about them. They’re part of self care sometimes. Take a break from the news, the daily pressers and social media when it starts to impact you negatively. Make plans for when the lockdown ends, something to look forward to. Plan a road trip or a fancy dinner. You don’t need to lock in dates (impossible at the moment), but plan the details and get excited about it."

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"Be aware that people in other states, who haven’t lived through this, probably won’t get it. This will be frustrating and the lower your resilience gets, the harder it will be not to tell them to bugger off when you tell them for the 111th time, that you can’t leave your 5km bubbles or go to Bunnings. And this is ok. Most importantly… be gentle with yourself and seek help if you need it. It’s tough, there’s no sugar coating it, but it will end one day."

Hold themed nights. 

"Have themed nights on the weekend as something to look forward to. Like Mexican tacos and margaritas, Italian pizza and wine, Disney nights etc. Even dress up and get the music on."

Put jeans on once a week. 

"Rest when you must. Outside time is clutch. Cry if you need. Put jeans on once a week."

Fresh air can do wonders. 

"Exercise was my saviour! I made sure I did something everyday. Particularly if you're in a busy house it's so important to have YOU time. So putting headphones on, going for a walk or running certainly helped! The fresh air can do wonders on the mind and spirit. Good luck NSW."

Have fun in the bedroom.

"Maaaarturbaaateee."

Get cooking. 

"Make banana bread, seriously though... I found joy in cooking."

Feel all the feels. 

"I’ve been raging mad, upset and also loving the excuse not to leave my house and stay in trackies. No single day will feel the same with your emotions but the days can feel like ground hog day."

Take time to recharge.

"To parents of young kids: take turns to give each other alone time to recharge - in the bedroom with the doona over my head was my preferred style, but going for a walk would work too! Don’t try to do it ALL together, sometimes dividing and conquering is more beneficial to the family overall. I’m so sorry you’re going through this NSW." 

You don't need to achieve anything. 

"Goals are great to keep your mind and body active. But you know what, some days you don’t need to achieve anything! Living in lockdown during a pandemic is EXHAUSTING! Be gentle with yourself, you deserve this."

"Lower standards. In my house we lived by a 'near enough is good enough' policy. Last lockdown we just played and watched telly!"

Practice gratitude.

"Practice gratitude, your lockdown is possibly a lot more comfortable than others. "

Walk before you start work. 

"If you’re WFH, go for a walk before you login every morning."

Do whatever brings you joy. 

"If you feel like lying in bed and doing nothing, and having a ‘mental health day’ do it. I felt pressured in our big lock down last year to always feel ‘positive’ and have heaps of tasks and things to do but sometimes I did want to have a day to feel sorry for myself and sloth around in pjs and eat ice cream. Whatever brings you any joy, just go with it and don’t feel guilty. Sending lots of love, it’s so much harder than people realise."

Screen time doesn't count in lockdown. 

"My lockdown routine with my toddler was go for a walk in the morning. Lunch at home. Nap (both of us) then maybe another walk in the afternoon (when we were allowed more than one) or play in the backyard/front yard. And lots of TV! Screen time doesn’t count during lockdown! It’s not exciting, but it kept me going. We’re rooting for you NSW. Thank you for your sacrifices. We love you, from Melbourne."

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Meet your neighbour over the fence.

"Don’t watch the news all the time, just check the numbers once a day and leave it, it’s damaging. Meet your neighbour over the fence. I have a new friend in my 90-year-old neighbour, we sat on our driveways and had a glass of wine together during lockdown. Don’t be hard on yourself - there are no expectations on you as you get through this."

Pick up the phone. 

"Call your friends and family more often. It will help a lot."

Get busy around the house.  

"Hang in there Sydney. It will pass. What did we do? We turned off the TV and radio, texted or called friends to check on them, sent care packs to those struggling, cleaned out wardrobes (keep pile and charity pile), cleaned out pantry and fridge... Baked a lot of cakes, had deep, open talks with my adult children, still at home and it brought us closer. I also walked every day and got out into the garden."

Reach out for support. 

"Try to get do something for yourself each day walking around the block, reading a book, baking some muffins or taking a long bath. And remember it's ok to not be ok... reach out to your support networks and see you're GP or call Beyond Blue for support if you need it. Lockdown is hard, us Victorians know how you're feeling and were here to support you."

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

If you, or a young person you know, is struggling with symptoms of mental illness please contact your local headspace centre here or chat to them online, here. If you are over the age of 25 and suffering from symptoms of mental illness please contact your local GP for a Mental Health Assessment Plan or call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.

Kid's Helpline is also available on 1800 551 800.

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia. 

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