Your physical health

Take time each day for your basic needs so that you are in a better position to stay well and build resilience.

Remember the basics – eat, sleep, exercise

When we get busy and overwhelmed, it can be easy to forget the basics. Consistency is the key – maintain a routine, eat healthy food, exercise and get enough sleep. The following resources may prove useful.

Healthy eating

The National Health and Medical Research Council has a wealth of online and downloadable resources on its Eat for Health website.

Australian Dietary Guidelines

The Australian Dietary Guidelines (via eatforhealth.gov.au) provide up-to-date advice about the amount and kinds of foods that we need to eat for health and wellbeing.

Learn more about the Australian Healthy Eating Guidelines

Dietetics students completing a recent five-week placement in Monash Health’s Community Health Promotion team have developed a suite of educational resources to support the Healthy Eating initiative in Supported Residential Services.

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12 October 2020Australian Dietary Guidelines

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12 October 2020Fruits & Vegetables

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12 October 2020Fruit & Vegetables handout, page 1

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12 October 2020Fruit & Vegetables handout, page 2

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12 October 2020Grains

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12 October 2020Grains handout, page 1

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12 October 2020Grains handout, page 2

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12 October 2020Lean Meat & Alternatives

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12 October 2020Lean Meat & Alternatives handout, page 1

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12 October 2020Lean Meat & Alternatives handout, page 2

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12 October 2020Dairy

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12 October 2020Dairy handout, page 1

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12 October 2020Dairy handout, page 2

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12 October 2020Discretionary Food

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12 October 2020Discretionary Food handout, page 1

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12 October 2020Discretionary Food handout, page 2

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12 October 2020Vegetarian & Vegan handout

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Exercise

At the best of times, Australians are not active enough. The Department of Health says Being physically active and limiting your sedentary behaviour every day is essential for health and wellbeing.

And we all feel better and cope better with stress if we are doing something active. Exercise can also help you prevent infection.

The challenge right now is how to do that given the physical distancing restrictions in place. Remember the Chief Health Officer has said exercise is one of the four reasons you can get outside. It’s time to be a bit creative.

Below are organisations providing advice and resources about how exercise can help during this time.

VicHealth

How exercise can help during coronavirus (via VicHealth)

Livelighter

Top Tips: Move your body and get active (via Livelighter)

Exercise Right

Exercise and Sports Science Australia inspires Australians to be healthier and more active by providing lots of information and resources.

Exercise Right at home

If you are now at home more, find the support you need to ensure you do not forget the importance of staying active.

Home workouts

A range of workouts you can do at home put together by accredited Exercise Physiologists.

World Health Organisation – Physical activity

Physical activity guidelines (via WHO)

Sleep

This could be a good time to get into some strong routines with your sleep. The Sleep Health Foundation has put together some material on the links between anxiety and a lack of sleep and how they can impact one another. Dr Natalie Grima, Clinical Neuropsychologist, also gave a presentation on getting a good night’s sleep. These resources give practical advice on good sleep hygiene, particularly for the period we are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Getting a good night’s sleep

Presentation by Dr Natalie Grima, Clinical Neuropsychologist (PDF document)

Getting a good night’s sleep

Presentation by Dr Natalie Grima, Clinical Neuropsychologist (Employee Forum via Webex)

Sleep Health Foundation

Getting good sleep during the COVID-19 pandemic (via Sleep Health Foundation)

Your daily routine

As we live and work under new restrictions, setting ourselves up well with a daily routine, can help keep you on track, whether you are in the office or working from home.

Consistency is key 

Whilst working remotely provides opportunities for flexibility around start and finish times, being consistent is still of critical importance.  

If your start and stop times are too fluid – or you don’t coordinate your start and stop times with your fellow team members – you may finds that you end up always being ‘on’. 

Dress for work 

Dressing for work will help get you in the right frame of mind. Also, bear in mind that you may have to pick up an unexpected video call from your manager or colleague – so make sure you are dressed for the occasion.  

Set up a routine for eating and taking breaks 

Set an alarm on your calendar or a wellness related app. Sticking to this routine can help avoid overeating when food is just a short trip to the kitchen away. 

Take breaks from the computer 

To prevent eye strain, take breaks from your screen wherever you are working. A good rule of thumb is to take two 15-minute total breaks from work as well as four five-minute pauses, evenly spread throughout your workday to rest your eyes.  

Alternatively, use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.  

Refer the Ergonomics at Monash Health – Guidelines and Recommendations for additional information on stretches and exercises that may be useful.

Ensure proper nutrition and hydration 

Make sure you have water near your desk. 

There are also some great apps to remind you to drink enough water throughout the day – so important for staying well, alertness and brain function and another way to help you take a quick break.

Prepare healthy snacks in advance (perhaps during the time you would otherwise be commuting), so you are not tempted to reach for an unhealthy snack from your kitchen.

Establish a daily habit to transition from work to home 

Set in place daily habits, such as changing outfits, switching off your computer, stepping outside etc., to mentally indicate your workday has ended.

Additional information and resources 

The Monash Health Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides a wealth of information and resources in relation to general wellbeing.  

The EAP can be accessed by logging into the dedicated portal:

Stretching at your desk

Stretching has many benefits as it helps improve range of motion, posture, decrease back pain, and help prevent injury.

Angelyn Kua, from Healthwise Fitness – Monash Health’s employee gym – has put together a simple stretching sequence you can use at your desk throughout the day to get your body moving and reduce the risk of aches and pains.

Stretching at home with Healthwise Fitness

Work along with Angie in this 10-minute video, just using your office space. See if you can do it three times a day.

Working from home

With many of us now working from home for at least some of the time, we’ve put together some information about how to get set up and where to get additional technology and other support.

Visit the working from home page.

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