Although everything seems at a standstill, now is the perfect time to make a positive change.

With many reports saying the COVID-19 vaccine is a long way from being finalised, we must prepare for the long haul – whether that’s isolating at home, rotating your in-office work hours or continuing your day to day routine as per usual. So to help you through this uncertain time, we’ve sourced five expert tips from Dr Sally Phillips, General Manager of Health Services at TAL on how to stay and feel positive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Sally Phillips, TAL General Manager of Health Services. Image: Supplied

Dr Sally Phillips, TAL General Manager of Health Services. Image: Supplied

According to TAL’s latest research, 62 per cent of Australians believe COVID-19 has provided them with a greater sense of self. But with new clusters striking a blow to the expected easing of restrictions – and with possibly more outbreaks in the future – we should take this moment to strengthen our wellbeing.

To help us focus on the silver lining, here are Dr Sally Phillips’ five expert tips on feeling good right now:

1. Practice mindfulness and take some time out

With everyone having to give up their social life for the past few months, we’ve all likely been working more than ever. But don’t forget to take a break and give yourself time to breathe. A particular activity that really helps is practising mindfulness. But being mindful is not just sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed. More often than not, it’s reading a book, listening to music, going for a walk or even simply writing about your feelings. These are just some of the few activities that are great for unwinding your straining mind.

Dr Phillips’ says, “Ensure you make time to rest, relax and get enough sleep as this will help rejuvenate you – giving both your mind and body the time it needs to recharge ahead of a busy working day.”

If you need some help with being mindful or meditative, check out our top 10 meditation apps for 2020!

2. Make exercise part of your daily routine

During the first month of lockdown, most of us realised just how important getting outside into the fresh air and stretching our legs can be. Not just for energy, but even to help us improve our moods. Keep that enthusiasm going by choosing activities that you find both interesting and manageable to fit into your daily life. Even if it’s deciding to walk to the shops rather than drive. That sun will do you good, too!

“TAL’s research found that 30 per cent of people are doing more exercise than before,” Dr Phillips says. “[So] don’t let winter be an excuse not to exercise as there are plenty of activities that you can still do.”

While getting out is good, some of us may be under quarantine, so why not “namastay-at-home” with our beginners guide to yoga!

3. Stay informed with your finances

During this unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic, it’s understandable that people will feel levels of uncertainty in all aspects of their life. One in particular is financial security, considering many people have either lost a job or have had their working hours cut. Feeling more in control of your finances can help you not only practically plan, but also help ease any worries that you may have. But never forget, there is always help out there when you’re in need.

“Taking time to do your research or consult with a financial advisor can help you understand your current position more clearly and build your confidence in any financial decisions for your future by addressing any concerns,” says Dr Phillips.

Looking for work at this crazy time? Check out our 7 tips for job hunting during COVID-19!

4. Prioritise your mental health

Maintaining positive mental health has been one of the biggest challenges facing Australians during this time. And with only 49 per cent of people saying the COVID-19 situation has allowed them to focus more on their personal wellbeing, it’s important to ramp up this individual self-care. Mindfulness, which we mentioned before, can be used to improve your mental wellbeing. But sticking to a routine will help too.

“If you’re working from home, it’s important that you make a conscious effort to separate work and home life,” says Dr Phillips. “For example, pick a definitive finishing time each day when you switch off your laptop and stop for the day so that you maintain a boundary between your work life and your personal life.”

Also, don’t forget to nourish your social life!

“Social connections also play a huge role in our wellbeing,” Dr Phillips says, “so now that we can continue to socially connect beyond the computer screen, it’s important to spend quality time with family and friends.

“Having a close support network is a great way to release any built-up worries that you may have which helps preserve your mental health.”

Need some encouragement for boosting mental health? Check out these four tips for a healthy home isolation.

5. Commit to cooking and eating more healthy meals

Staying at home has given people the opportunity to develop new hobbies, with many of us focusing on improving our culinary skills. This has presented us with a tremendous health opportunity.

Dr Phillips says, “Take advantage of the additional time at home to expand your cooking repertoire and prepare meals that you would usually think are too time-consuming. Not only will this feel rewarding, but it will also help keep you healthy.”

Just because some of us have eased restrictions, doesn’t mean we should forfeit our home cooking. It’s easier to control what you’re eating and avoid unnecessary additives that are often found in fast food. Not to mention that eating out is harder on the purse or wallet than cooking at home.

On top of this, it’s widely known that fruit and vegetables can have great long-term benefits for our health. By avoiding sugar and junk food and replacing these snacks with healthier options, or cooking your new favourite homemade meal, you can help improve your sleep and boost your energy levels. And hey, you can learn something new!

Did you know boosting your immune system starts with what you eat? Check out these eight ways to boost your immune system!