Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer has issued some advice to Melbourne residents facing another day of lockdowns: make your bed. It might help your mental health.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, Dr Nick Coatsworth addressed Victoria’s new roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions and the mental toll of further lockdown restrictions.

“As one of my close friends and colleagues today said in Melbourne, it’s very difficult for us in areas of Australia that aren’t under restrictions to really understand exactly what people are going through,” Dr Coatsworth said.

Dr Coatsworth advised Melbourne residents to reach out to friends and family if they’re feeling isolated, structure their days to add a sense of routine, and take some downtime to focus on relaxation or hobbies.

He also suggested folks execute the simple task of making the bed.

“One of the simplest things you can do in the morning, and this was said to me once at a leadership seminar, by someone who is a very good leader, is ‘make your bed,'” Dr Coatsworth said.

“It sounds so simple. But if you get into some structure and routine for the next two weeks while the restrictions are still in place… those sorts of achievable goals, structure, can be very important.”

Such ordinary advice might seem disproportionate to the severity of Melbourne’s lockdowns, which have caused widespread economic hardship and severed normal social ties. Those concerns are real and pressing, and won’t be solved by tucking in the covers for another few weeks.

But – and I am speaking purely from personal experience here, as someone writing from Melbourne – executing some kind of small, personal check-list can make the days feel more manageable, even if they’re not necessarily better.

Dr Coatsworth also reiterated the fact that Victorians can now access 20 sessions with mental health practitioners under Medicare, which feels like a somewhat more tangible federal response to the situation.

Still, Melbourne is slated to grind through another few tough weeks, even if the pillows are straight.


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