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Managing your Respiratory Health and Mental Well-being during COVID-19

Improving your Respiratory Health during COVID-19

The Lung Foundation Australia is a national organisation the provides support for people who have lung disease and they ensure that respiratory health is a priority for all Australians.

The health of our lungs has never been more important than it is now during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keeping active during these strange times is difficult when gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities are closed.  However, research shows that exercise and physical activity is very beneficial for people living with lung conditions and for overall respiratory health. 

The benefits of exercise include;

  • Reduces shortness of breath and increases lung capacity
  • Alleviates anxiety and depression
  • Boost the immune system
  • Improves energy levels
  • Reduces tiredness
  • Improves quality of life
  • Helps to maintain good overall health

Before starting a home exercise programme, it is advised to consult your healthcare professional to ensure you are fit and able to exercise safely.

Once you have a programme in place, how do you stay motivated? 

Here are some tips from the Lung Foundation Australia;

  • Schedule a regular work out time – set an alarm if that helps
  • Team up with a member of your household so you can keep each other motivated
  • Exercise virtually with family or friends so you maintain contact during social distancing
  • Put your favourite music on while you exercise
  • Make sure your workout is fun
  • Tune in to the Lung Foundation Australia’s Maintaining Movement video series and complete the exercise alongside their Exercise Physiologist

Maintaining your Mental Health During COVID-19

During this period of social distancing some people will be struggling due to the lack of physical contact with friends and family.  For many, their lives for the foreseeable future will be greatly affected by COVID-19 either emotionally, physically or financially, or all three, and it’s normal to develop feelings of anxiousness, distress, fear and even anger.

The Lung Foundation Australia offer guidance for maintaining mental health during this period of social distancing. 

Some of these tips are;

Maintain perspective – Remember, this is a global issue, so some of the best minds in the world are working to solve this.

Limit media intake and only choose reliable media outlets – while it is important to stay informed, don’t watch too much news.  Repeated exposure can increase feelings of anxiety.  Only get your news from reliable sources, don’t read every article in social media and online.

Follow government advice – The Australian Government is regularly updating advice to protect us all.  Keep up to date and follow the advice.

Stay connected – don’t let physical distancing become emotional distancing.  Stay connected, talk regularly on the phone, Facetime, Skype, Zoom and social media. Modern technology means you can socialise and feel almost like you are with the other person.

Health and wellbeing – focus on keeping yourself well physically, this will improve your mental well-being.  Cook healthy meals, exercise, meditate, try relaxation techniques until you find one that works for you. 

Keep a routine – it is easy to let go of your normal routines when daily life is not normal, but try to maintain your normal routines. If you are working from home set up a dedicated space for work. It is tempting to stay in bed or work in your PJs however, if you get up for work at a certain time each day, continue to do so.  Have your shower get dressed, take breaks and eat meals at the times you normally would.  If you have coffee with friends on a regular basis, make a coffee at home and meet up for a video call. 

Most of all stay home, stay safe and stay healthy!

 

For general information on respiratory health go to the Lung Foundation Australia website

https://lungfoundation.com.au/

 

Download their mental health resource for techniques to reduce anxiety and stress

https://lungfoundation.com.au/patients-carers/lung-health/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/health-and-wellbeing/

 

Download their Better Living with Exercise Personal Guide

https://pulmonaryrehab.com.au/~resources/04_Patient_education/04_Better_Living_with_Exercise-_Your_personal_guide.pdf

 

Reference

Lung Foundation Australia website - www.lungfoundationaustralia.com.au