Mental Health During Lockdown: ‘Silver Linings’ For Australian Men

Self-improvement over sulking.

Mental Health During Lockdown: ‘Silver Linings’ For Australian Men

Lamington National Park in Queensland. Medibank's stats from the Sunshine State reveal a 82% rise in men hiking since lockdown. Image: Chris Fuller

While some Queenslanders who enjoy a somewhat alternative lifestyle have still been getting their kicks despite 2020’s pandemic restrictions, most of us have resigned to moping around the house and waiting for These Unprecedented Times to pass us by.

However, many Australian men have found a silver lining to 2020; taking advantage of lockdown and turning it into an opportunity to better themselves, research from Australian private health insurer Medibank reveals.

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Medibank ran the numbers on nearly 100,000 of their Live Better Rewards App users on how people have been tracking activities across pre-lockdown; lockdown #1 and lockdown #2 for Melbourne; and post-lockdown for all other states – and have uncovered some compelling evidence that reveals how Australian men have and are continuing to improve both their physical and mental habits over the past few months.

What’s intriguing is how these healthy habits have continued post-lockdown in states where that’s applicable (again, sorry Melbourne).

For example, Sydneysiders have seen a spike in healthy eating post-lockdown, with over 67% of Sydney men reporting a reduction in fast food consumption. Western Australia has seen an even greater trend, with a huge 222% uptick in healthy snacking being reported in the state since lockdown. It’s not just eating: Queenslanders have made the most of their scenic state with hiking up by 82%.


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The other interesting difference in Melbourne’s case is the difference in habits between the first wave of restrictions and the second. Lockdown #2 had more Melburnians make the switch from alcohol to water, with user activity skyrocketing to 88% from lockdown #1, according to Medibank. Another big increase from the first to the second lockdown is how often men are reading (a 92% increase from lockdown #1).

One consequence of this literally life-changing COVID-19 pandemic is that it’s got all of us – not just Australians – focusing more on our health, beyond simply avoiding The Bat Kiss. While gym closures and long waiting times for counselling services would seem to detriment our health more than benefit it, Australians are increasingly taking the initiative to work on themselves, whether that means experimenting with diets, cutting unhealthy habits, practising mindfulness or upskilling ourselves – turning a negative into a positive.

Hopefully, we can continue to build healthy habits during lockdown, and continue to maintain them once we’ve got out of this pandemic. Not everything has to go ‘back to normal’.

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