World Mental Health Day was on October 10, and residents across the Southern Highlands are encouraged to make exercise, connecting with friends and mindfulness a daily priority.
South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) Mental Health Director Dr Claire Jones said the impact of stress could linger and these behaviours were proven to have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.
"In the case of exercise, it's been shown to help with sleep, boost serotonin levels, which helps to control moods, and increase our energy levels,'' Dr Jones said.
"Social connections can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and boost self-esteem while mindfulnesses can give us a greater sense of calm and help us to be less reactive to situations.''
Dr Jones said that while the easing of restrictions would bring back a degree of normality to our lives, it was crucial that we remained vigilant about our mental wellbeing.
"Adopting these behaviours will improve our overall mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic - and well into the future," she said.
"For Mental Health Month this October, we're being encouraged to 'Tune in to our mental health.
"We're being encouraged to be aware of what is happening within each of us and in the world around us.
"If we notice we aren't tracking as well, we should take steps to practise some extra self-care such as relaxation and doing something that brings us joy.''
Dr Jones said some of the long-term impacts of stress included sleeping problems, depression, anxiety and cardiovascular disease.
"The human mind likes predictability and certainty. When life gets stressful, some simple daily routines and structures can make a big difference to how we think and feel. Routine is more important than ever at the moment,'' Dr Jones said.
To find out more and to download useful resources visit www.mentalhealthmonth.wayahead.org.au
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