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Finding the right balance: Five steps to beating isolation blues

From following a routine to backyard shadow boxing, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant Damon Jaenke is focused on helping others to beat the isolation blues.

Having played in the National Wheelchair Basketball League to go with a host of junior accolades accumulated in North Queensland and his hometown of Mackay, Damon, 28, is no stranger to pushing the limits.

Living with spina bifida, Damon has beaten cancer twice, and is now a qualified personal trainer and a retention specialist in Brisbane.

Also a mental health advocate, Damon loves living his best life while paying it forward to assist others, and has come up with the following five tips for people to get the best out of their time in isolation.

1. Stay connected

We live in a time where technology is so advanced it has never been easier to communicate with friends and family, even in isolation.

Some of the more popular ways we can communicate is through traditional ways like making a phone call or sending a text, but FaceTime is also a great way to connect.

I also suggest getting creative and utilising video chat apps like Zoom, Skype, and House Party, which are all easily available.

2. Maintain a strong routine

It’s so important to maintain a solid routine in the current climate of isolation and self-distancing, so when life returns to “normal” it won’t come as such a shock.

This starts with not lying about in the mornings, so set an alarm on workdays for the usual time you would wake up and stick to it.

It’s also important to make sure you go to bed at your usual bedtime as this will keep your body clock working at its best.

3. Get exercising

Exercise is so important for a variety of different reasons, with the main reasons being it keeps your body moving, keeps you active and releases endorphins which is a happy hormone.

Even though we can’t train at our regular gyms for now, there’s no excuse as your house is also literally a gym. What do I mean by that?

You can go for a walk around the yard or work your endurance and muscles by walking up and down the stairs or by shadow boxing.

Do you have tinned fruit or veg in your cupboard? If you answered yes, you have basic weights to lift.  You can even fill a bag with books and walk around the yard.

I could go on about the endless possibilities around home gyms, but if you need a bit of structure and guidance, a lot of gyms have taken their workouts online.

For a small weekly fee, you could join in on the fun via a Zoom or Skype workout and when all this is over, you will have already made friends while keeping fit and staying active.

4. Focus on nutrition

This one is critical to follow as you don’t want to be doing all of this exercise then letting it go to waste with a bad diet.

It’s easier to slip into bad eating habits while spending more time at home, but sticking to fresh fruits and vegetables along with some protein will help you to maintain a healthy balance. If you need to, simply get back to basics as there is nothing wrong with meat and three veg!

Also, try to limit your alcohol intake and make sure you drink lots and lots of water.

5. Take care of your mental health

If you are following a routine like these five tips offer, but are finding you are struggling mentally, make sure you reach out to a professional.

If you are not comfortable talking face-to-face, or you are in self isolation, there are a range of great services such as Beyond Blue, Headspace, and Lifeline, just a call or click away.

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