Surviving lockdown: How we stayed mentally healthy during a pandemic.

Published by Maggie Partsi

October 29, 2020

Surviving lockdown: how we stayed mentally healthy in a pandemic

Lockdown has been quite rough on Melbournians and our mental health, no matter which way you spin it. Something that started out as a one-month deal somehow ended up trailing for what seems like the rest of the year.

In such a heavily digitised world, it’s made it even harder to unplug. Going from working on your laptop to switching it off, and then turning your head a mere 45 degrees to the left to watch TV has become all too common! 

Here in Melbourne, the shackles have finally come off and restrictions have been eased substantially. While we’re all glad lockdown is in the past (well, we hope it is), we move forward with a greater sense of how to manage our mental health and wellbeing during times of change. 

With it being Mental Health Month during October, we wanted to share some of the ways our team has been able to unwind and relax!


Doing Zumba online – aka ZOOMba. 
Even though I’m pretty bad at it and I’m fairly uncoordinated, it’s been great in helping me keep up with exercise and jumping around always brightens my mood, especially now that I can turn the camera off and literally dance like no one is watching – because no one is!

Organising themed nights.
Dressing up and watching movies or musicals and ordering some food to match the theme of the movie. One great example was the Disney movie Anastasia – we ordered Eastern European food, dressed up, made White Russians and even attempted a few accents! We also sang along to all the great music, albeit quite poorly and much to the dismay of our other housemate.

Going for walks and picnics with friends.
Especially now that we have a 25km radius!


Getting a pet.
There are many health-related benefits that come with owning a pet, and during lockdown I became the owner of a new kitten. A great little companion who regularly makes appearances on my Zoom calls.

Kicking around the footy with a mate.
Not only does it get the blood pumping, it’s a great stress relief and way to get some exercise in. And hey, if you can’t get to the footy, then it’s the next best thing!

Buying and building (lots of) Lego sets!
Yes, you read right. Escapism for some is reading a book, doing a puzzle, or cooking a new recipe. But as for me, it’s Lego!


I have been playing the guitar and, yes, I am really bad at it but I love it. It’s something different and something I would normally not have found the time for. It’s been great picking this up. Not sure if the rest of the family has enjoyed it as much as I have – ha ha.

This has been something that has been very helpful. I think we forget how much we actually walk around – to and from the office, when we go to lunch, to go get a coffee etc. After work I am running around after kids and this has come to a complete stop. Yes I miss it… yeah crazy me!

Online catch ups. 
Zoom, Facebook, House Party and a few others have been great ways to have family catch ups and stay connected. I think 8 hours has been one of our longest sessions.


Maintaining a consistent routine. 
Still get up at the same time as I normally would out of lockdown, working out (even if only in the living room), getting out of the house for a walk every day and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You can read more about this here.

Setting Boundaries and keeping to a 9-5 routine. 
When it’s work time, work – no distractions. When it’s outside of hours, switch off and focus on living. 

Maintaining hobbies. 
For me, studying Japanese. Not leaving the house means I get extra time to study. 

Catching up with people online.
I have had some incredibly funny Zoom sessions with friends and family.

We would love to hear about some of the interesting ways you have used this time to keep your mental health in check and find balance during what has been an extraordinarily unusual year. 

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