How to manage your wellbeing during COVID-19? Plate it up

by Apr 13, 2020

If you’ve tuned into any form of media outlet you’ll understand that 2020 is a year many of us will remember indefinitely. Days once filled with routine have now been replaced with toilet paper memes, social distancing and wondering what COVID-19 means for your employment or entry into the workforce.  If you’re feeling a little bit anxious with all the uncertainty, you are far from alone.

In 2015 I had an injury that made life stand still, kind of like what we are experiencing at the moment.  A good friend and Wellbeing Coach introduced me to the Healthy Mind Platter a simple and fun (yes, it’s fun) way to promote structure and general wellbeing.

So how exactly can you manage your wellbeing during COVID-19?

You put it on a plate

Welcome to Dr. Dan Siegel’s Healthy Mind Platter; a simple daily wellbeing exercise that challenges you to complete an activity in 7 key areas that drive mental wellbeing. Completing an activity like the Mind Platter encourages you to structure your days when you are likely spending hours in front of a screen feeling connected, yet strangely distant.

graphic depicting the 7 elements of a healthy mind platter

Completing an exercise like the Healthy Mind Platter will put you in a good position to burst out the other side, ready to take hold of the many opportunities that present once the world starts ticking again.

How do I use the Mind Platter?

Firstly, choose your means. Are you a fan of the old school and love a bit of pen to paper action? Or are you a digital native and prefer smart phone lists and apps like Trello and Evernote?

Finally (yes, we’re already at the ‘finally’ part of this – it’s that easy!) write the following headings, leaving a small space to record the activity completed in each area: Focus time, Playtime, Connecting time, Physical time, Time-in, Downtime, Sleep time.

illustration of a person's brain and the 7 different mental activities recommended by Dr Siegel


Repeat the process every day ensuring you complete an activity in each of the 7 key wellbeing areas. Below are examples of how you can approach the activities in each area, remember your own creativity is the limit here.

Focus time

This is an opportunity to focus on tasks in a goal oriented way. For example, you could complete that online course that’s been on the backburner, create a home study timetable to ensure you have good flow as you adapt to online learning, or consider giving back and gaining global project skills for your resume by volunteering for the growing number of COVID online volunteer opportunities.


Playtime in individual and will look different depending on what you tune into, playtime involves participating in spontaneous and creative activities. If a graduate program or internship is on your radar, why not use the time to explore the free psychometric and aptitude tests in Abintegto?

If you are not a naturally creative or spontaneous person, perhaps the cat vs toilet paper challenge or Google 3D Animals  is more up your alley. Determining what you can do indoors at the moment encourages creativity, if you ask me!  Have fun and tap into your playful side – if you have a smile on your face you are doing this one correctly.

Connecting time

This involves connecting with other people. I always try to look for the positives in any situation therefore I believe the current climate provides the perfect opportunity to get curious and gather information related to your career. The world’s professional workforce is spending their weekends indoors, it’s the perfect time to network.

‘How’, you ask? Consider building your LinkedIn network, you can check out how to do this here or completing some information interviews. Information interviews are the perfect way to network and gain industry contacts whilst gathering information that is valuable to your career decision making (plus, you can do them virtually!).

Physical time

This one is self-explanatory – it involves moving your body to elevate your heart rate. You may wish to employ creativity in this area due to the current restrictions. If you are playing hallway cricket with your housemates you may be able to check off Playtime, Connecting time and Physical time all in one experience! For those of you who yearn to get outdoors, do what you can do on premises using free online workout videos.


This involves reflecting internally focussing on sensations, feelings, thoughts and images. Are you feeling restless indoors? Or worried about employment? It’s a lot of stress to carry around. Taking some daily ‘time-in’ will help you maintain a sense of balance.  I tend to gravitate towards apps such as Headspace or Smiling Mind to help. For some of you this will be prayer, yoga, journaling or connecting with your higher power.


Downtime is absolute bliss, it involves being non-focussed and without a specific goal.  So schedule in some daily time to zone out and chill, chat to a mate, watch shows, play cards or just have some me time.

Sleep time

An all-time favourite that is also self-explanatory, sleep time involves allowing your brain the time to rest and recover from the day. Stick to the routine you had before the world got a bit wobbly. Everyone is working at a high load at the moment and we should all pat ourselves on the back for the resilience and adaptability being displayed.

illustrated map of the seven essential daily mental activities

As I sit here with a small splash of sunlight creeping through the window, wondering how long this will go on for, I know one thing for certain, the Mind Platter has my wellbeing sorted. Will you let it sort yours out too? I challenge you to try this for three consecutive days and notice the uplift in brings to your wellbeing.  Use this downtime as an opportunity to explore and to come out the other side refreshed, informed and ready to take on any challenge that comes your way.  


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

Lauren Hanly

Lauren Hanly

Recruitment Advisor

Lauren is a creative and empathetic careers education professional, currently working as a Recruitment Advisor for UTS Careers. She understands that marketing yourself to employers can sometimes be an uncomfortable experience! Lauren has worked in client-facing roles for the duration of her career. She has 9 years’ of HR experience in the IT and Tech sectors completing high volume recruitment, organisational redesign and HR project work.