While Victoria slowly edges toward "COVID Normal", the state's peak health body is trying to undo some of the damage lockdown has wrought.
A VicHealth survey of 2000 Victorians found people felt socially isolated, worried about food and less physically active during the state's first coronavirus lockdown.
The survey, run from March to May and published on Wednesday, showed almost one in four (23 per cent) Victorians didn't feel socially connected to others.
That was up from one in ten in February.
Three in 10 respondents also reported finding it hard or very hard to stay connected to friends or family in lockdown.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (51 per cent), those eligible for JobKeeper (42) and JobSeeker (39), young people aged 18-24 (39) and non-English speakers at home (39) struggled most to stay connected.
"Many Victorians were already fighting an uphill battle before the pandemic hit," chief executive Sandro Demaio said.
"But now they are facing even greater challenges when it comes to putting healthy food on the table, keeping active and staying connected to others in their community - a precursor for mental wellbeing."
Victoria's first virus wave was in March-April, with lockdown measures easing in late June when the second wave started.
Despite exercise's well-known mental health benefits, 37 per cent of people were less physically active in the first lockdown than pre-pandemic.
With gyms closed, one in three of those explained they didn't regularly have room for home exercise, and one in five said they had no one to exercise with or didn't feel safe outside.
The survey also highlighted a rise in food insecurity (up from nine to 17 per cent), although one in three people ate less takeaway and a similar number cooked dinner more often.
Lockdown's taxing nature did have some silver linings, with 44 per cent of respondents wanting to retain some aspects when life returns to normal.
Some 25 per cent want to work from home, 10 per cent are keen on flexible work hours and 12 per cent would like to continue gardening.
In response to the findings, VicHealth has unveiled a $2.5 million grant package to promote physical and mental health in local communities.
"Our grants will help support Victorians facing the greatest health challenges, such as young people and families on low incomes," Dr Demaio said.
He said sports clubs and leagues, arts organisations, community gardens and local groups are the road to Victoria's health recovery.
The grants, ranging from $3000, $10,000 and $50,000, will support new and existing projects and open to local groups on Wednesday.
Australian Associated Press