Lockdown and Men’s Mental Health and Wellbeing

Lockdown 6.0 has seen the introduction of a number of restrictions that impact our regular movement. In Melbourne, this includes two hours of exercise each day and a 5km limit of travel. These measures are really important and designed to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and keep our community safe. We all want that, but at the same time…. it’s not easy!

In my role as a psychologist and Senior Coordinator of Men’s Wellbeing, I talk with guys every day who are all finding the pandemic and lockdown to be really challenging. So many are feeling the disconnection from friends. Many report feeling a range of things like sadness, frustration, anger, worry… all very understandable at this time. Lots of guys speak of feeling it physically too, such as noticing a change in condition, feeling unmotivated and tired. The loss of the usual outlets of keeping fit and socially connected really stand out in my daily conversations with the men of La Trobe.

But something else I am noticing, and learning from the guys I see, is they are all open to finding ways to be creative in lockdown to look after themselves, to find ways to connect with others and get the benefits of exercise to help support them at this challenging time.

Here are a few examples of things men are doing to get exercise, look after their mental health and wellbeing, and to make the most of their two hours and 5 Km:

“I meet up with a mate at the same time every day and we go for a jog”.

This is a great one as they are getting the benefit of social connection and exercise. A double whammy for good physical & mental health.

“I explore a new area within my 5 km radius and take the dog for a walk somewhere new”.

Another great idea. Exercise, a new and novel environment and being with the pooch are all great for mood and to take you out of your regular setting. Why not try out this link to see what is within your 5KM radius: How far is 5km from your home? | Coronavirus Victoria

“I’ve found two parks I didn’t even know were close to me. One is great for cycling with my brother”.

Cycling is another exercise that is brilliant for wellbeing. Finding somewhere different is even better. Check out what Mensline has to say about cycling: Cycling – the exercise for positive mental health | MensLine Australia

A few other suggestions I have also heard include rediscovering Pokémon Go, creating a home gym by ordering a cheap set of weights off Amazon, using a skipping rope at home, discovering yoga or workout videos on YouTube and creating a daily walking challenge.

While times are challenging a little curiosity and creativity brings the opportunity to find new ways to exercise and to improve our mental health or just strengthen our wellbeing.

Want some more tips? Check out the Australian Men’s Health Forums tips including their “Be active” article:  The 10 Habits of Mentally Healthy Men – #2 Be Active – Australian Men’s Health Forum (amhf.org.au)

Men’s Health & Wellbeing here at La Trobe:

Feel like checking in and talking over how you are travelling at this time? Our Men’s wellbeing program offers informal counselling that can be helpful if lockdown is getting you down or you just want to discuss new ways of looking after yourself. Sessions are relaxed, confidential and tailored specifically for you and what you want to achieve.

Follow this link to find out more, or make an appointment.

If you are going through a tough time and need some more immediate support

Contact our La Trobe University Crisis Line for Out-of-Hours Mental Health and Wellbeing Support. Phone 1300 146 307 or text 0488 884 100. This service operates 5pm-9am on weekdays and 24 hours during weekends and public holidays.

Alternatively, you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14, Men’s line: 1300 78 9978 or in an emergency please contact 000

Jason Campbell
Senior Coordinator Men’s Wellbeing