08 May 2020

Keeping well during COVID-19

Keeping well during COVID-19

While many in the community are feeling concerned about COVID-19, it is understandable that many cancer patients and their families are feeling particularly vulnerable.

The current advice is that people with cancer should continue to follow any specific advice or standard precautions recommended by your health care practitioners to minimise your risk of infection, during and after treatment.

Self-care is particularly important during this time. There are many ways to take care of yourself while practicing safe social distancing and self-isolation. Here are some of the best ways you can look after your physical and mental wellbeing during COVID-19.

Get moving

A great way to keep yourself feeling physically and mentally well is to ensure you move your body. If you can, make the most of the beautiful autumn weather and enjoy a bike ride or walk (while taking appropriate social distancing and hygiene precautions).

Otherwise, if you’d prefer to stay indoors, there are plenty of free apps and YouTube channels you can follow for yoga, pilates and other exercise programs.

Eat well

Now is the perfect time to master some new healthy recipes. Eating plenty of balanced, nutrient-rich meals will help you to nourish and maintain your physical and mental health. For ideas, why not try some delicious recipes from The Patient Chef, a collection of recipes donated by cancer patients and their carers from the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse community.

Keep up your Telehealth appointments 

It’s important to keep up any medical appointments for your cancer treatment or other health issues.

A Telehealth appointment is just like a standard GP or medical appointment, but conducted over the phone. Wherever possible, I am conducting my appointments via Telehealth. To make an appointment, or if you are unsure about how COVID-19 impacts your care, please feel free to contact my team.

Limit the liquor

One of the easiest and most effective things you can do to protect your immune system is to cut down on your drinking.

A strong immune system helps to protect against infection. Alcohol negatively affects the immune system, making infections more likely and limiting our ability to develop immunity.

If you do decide to drink alcohol, stick within the national guidelines of no more than four standard drinks on any one day, and no more than a total of ten across a week.

Take time to rest and rejuvenate

At a time where much of the world is slowing down, why not also take this time rest and rejuvenate? Read a book, discover a great new podcast, or practice some meditation to wind down and give your body and mind a chance to take a break.

Stay in touch

Support from loved ones is incredibly important during your cancer treatment and recovery, and during this time it is no different.

Self-isolation can feel lonely, but it doesn’t mean you can’t catch up with family and friends – why not phone an old friend, write a letter to a loved one, or schedule a virtual dinner party with your friends or family?

There are also dedicated Corona Virus mental wellbeing support services, including online community forums that can help you feel connected during COVID-19.

Further support

If you, or someone you know needs further support, here are some organisations that can help.

Cancer Council 13 11 20
Health Direct Australia 1800 022 222
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Lifeline 13 11 14
Reach out au.reachout.com