The APS is at the forefront of emergency situations, such as bushfires, floods, drought and now COVID-19. The work we do is considered essential to the Australian community, which is why it is critical for APS employees to prioritise their physical health in order to protect and support their mental health. Building our collective resilience will help to build our organisational resilience.
Healthy habits such as regular physical activity, good nutrition, staying hydrated, self-care and a good night’s sleep are more important than ever. We’ve put together some practical tips to help you get started.
- Establish a positive routine. Put together a daily routine that incorporates a healthy balance of exercise, nutrition, work, rest and self-care. Make it fun and most importantly, stick to it.
- Eat healthy meals and snacks. Set calendar reminders to take breaks and eat well. Prepare some healthy food options in advance so they’re on hand during the day.
- Drink water regularly. Keep a water bottle with you to ensure you stay hydrated throughout your day. Drinking water increases circulation and cleanses our bodies.
- Be creative with physical activity. Remember you just need to get moving. It can be as simple as walking, stretching, dancing around the house or doing some gardening. Regular physical activity can release brain chemicals that make us feel good.
- Switch off and find time to relax. Go outside when you can to recharge during the day. At night, step away from your computer or television, and unwind without technology to set you up for a good sleep.
- Prioritise self-care. Everything from getting enough sleep to staying positive, doing some yoga or practicing mindfulness, and showing gratitude for the things we have in our lives.
- Be kind to yourself. Some days will be easier than others to prioritise your physical health. You won’t always be able to eat well or get time for some exercise, but you can always be kind to yourself. Get back to healthy habits when you can. The extra effort is worth it.
Maintaining a balanced lifestyle
Everyone needs to stay at home more to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We need to make maintaining a balanced lifestyle a priority. The reality is we may be living and working with COVID-19 restrictions for some time, which makes our physical health and the positive impact that has on our mental health more important than ever. The mental health continuum can help you identify when things are out of balance and get you back on track.
- Staying active, eating well and maintaining healthy habits
- Focused, productive and able to maintain a positive routine
- ACTION: Keep checking in with yourself, stay positive and connected.
- Skipping meals, not taking enough breaks or going outside
- Unable to concentrate, engage with others and/or stick to a healthy routine
- ACTION: Reach out to a close friend, family member, colleague or connect with the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
- No physical activity, irregular sleep and lack of appetite
- Unable to maintain a routine or cope with daily life and/or disconnected from family, friends, colleagues and community
- ACTION: Contact your GP, a counsellor or psychologist, EAP or other support services (see below).