Does being in and out (and in and out) of lock down feel like a terrible game of Whack A Mole (where you’re the poor mole)? You’re not alone. Both the lock down and the pandemic itself are taking their toll on many, many people’s mental health.
As we deal with the currently unfolding situation, it’s especially important to stay ‘grounded’. This means finding ways to prioritise your emotional and mental well being.
Easier said than done, right? When you’re on overwhelm, it can be difficult to know where to start and what to do to help yourself. If you’re feeling this way, simply stick to these few simple and practical tips to stay upbeat during lock down:
It can be tempting to play couch commando 24-7, yet it’s important to keep your body physically active. Just 20 minutes of gentle exercise each day will increase your endorphin production, creating an instant mood boost.
- Try walking your dog to your local coffee shop for a takeaway coffee (this will also help you feel good about supporting local business).
- Take an early morning ocean dip.
- Ride scooters to the park with the kids.
- Hire/borrow a kayak and check out your local creek.
- Learn to surf.
- Set up a mini-Olympics in your living room.
- Download a yoga app and stretch by the pool.
- If it’s raining, jump on YouTube for some dance videos and create your own house party vibe.
The possibilities are endless!
If you’re physically separated from your friends and family, it doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected with them.
- Pick up the phone and enjoy a good old-fashioned chat – not just texting and Facebooking.
- Keep your regular coffee catch-ups – just use Zoom instead.
- Send your workmates funny (but appropriate) lock down memes (my favourite is ‘A Day in Lock down as Told by Moira Rose’).
- Leave some fresh flowers on your elderly neighbour’s doorstep to simply say ‘I’m here’.
- Start a virtual book club.
- Ask older relatives for some family recipes to try with the kids.
- Meet your nieces or nephews at their level by online gaming with them.
- If you are single, try online dating using Zoom instead of a restaurant date.
- Don’t let special occasions be forgotten – for bigger groups, host a virtual celebration using the House Party app.
Reaching out to others who may be struggling – no matter how small the gesture – will not only brighten their day; it will also give you a sense of purpose and make you feel good about yourself.
Keep things in perspective. This current situation is temporary. Your loved ones still love you – that hasn’t changed – and they will still be waiting for you on the other side of the pandemic.
Maintain Work Routines
If you’re working from home, maintain your normal work habits (as much as possible). Go to sleep and start work at your normal times. Dress in your regular work attire (no tracksuits unless you’re a PE teacher). Take your regular breaks. Ensure you are on top of your to do list each day.
These rituals might sound simplistic, but they really do help to put you in a more focused and motivated head space.
Remember, your work is important. Whatever you do, you are playing an important role in keeping our economy going. Take pride in that.
If you are currently unemployed, you are not alone and there is no shame in that. Allocate time each day to actively look for work. Engage an employment agency to assist you. Search for free online courses and tutorials to expand your skills (LinkedIn has some great courses).
Stay positive. You will find another job soon and your skills will be important – as we begin to re-build our economy, we will need all hands on deck.
Make Home Schooling Fun
If you’re home-schooling the kids, replicate their normal routines in creative ways.
- Order ‘tuck shop’ from your local take-away shop once a week.
- Replace school sport with a Nerf war.
- Get the kids gardening in lieu of environmental studies.
- Do some baking in place of cookery.
- Play handball when you’re both on ‘recess’.
- Access art supplies from your local discount store.
- Download a language app and learn Japanese with them.
- Google fun science experiments using ingredients you already have at home.
Home schooling might be hard, but you’ll develop a greater appreciation for your kids’ teachers and also play an important part in ensuring Aussie kids don’t miss out on their education.
It’s not just your work and school routines that are important. Your daily self-care routine is also paramount. Ensure you maintain good hygiene, eating, exercise, water intake and sleep hygiene habits.
- Track your lack of/movement using a fitness app on your phone or watch.
- Avoid excess screen time (especially news or social media threads that increase your anxiety).
- Search for ‘good news’ stories, comedy videos, interesting podcasts or articles to keep your brain engaged or entertained in a healthy way.
- Maintain your medical, allied health and other appointments that enhance your well being, even if it’s only via Telehealth.
- Continue to take any medication and/or supplements that have been prescribed to you.
- Don’t forget to give yourself some regular little rewards or treats!
If you’re struggling, ask for help. In an emergency, call 000 or Lifeline on 13 11 14 any time for free.
Ask your GP for a Mental Health Care Plan to see a psychologist.
I also offer a range of modalities including Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Hypnosis, Time Line Therapy®, Access Bars® and Life Coaching and can work together with you and your support team to maintain continuity of support.
Many of these modalities can be performed virtually, no matter where you are in Australia.
For more information please visit www.purposefullife.com.au. To make an appointment, please phone on 0481 877 860 or email email@example.com.