COVID has impacted our lives in many different ways; it’s changed some of our regular routines, the way that we relate to each other, the way we live and work. COVID has meant we’ve had to change plans, sometimes cancel plans and rethink how we go about some aspects of our daily lives.
As we adjust to life with COVID in the community it’s important to go gently and look after our own mental wellbeing and that of those around us.
Make sure to take time for self care
Make the effort to look after your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and schedule time to do things that make you feel good or bring meaning to your life.
There are many forms of self care – for some it’s listening to music, for others it’s taking a bath, gardening, or practising a hobby. Self care for you might be making sure you get enough sleep, going for a walk out in nature or practising yoga.
Be on the look out for people around you who might need extra support to find their feet
You do not need to be an expert to help someone you care about if they tell you they are struggling or if you notice they are distressed.
You can offer support and care by:
- Letting them know you care – you might like to ask “You don’t seem yourself, what’s going on?” or “I noticed that… (observations of signs, changes, patterns)”.
- Listening to them without judgement – minimise distractions and try not to “fix” things. You’ll be amazed at how often just listening to someone gives them the space to find their own solutions.
Beyond Blue also has some useful information on supporting someone going through a tough time.
Try not to lose sight of silver linings
Reflect on the positive things that may have happened as a result of (or in spite of) COVID. Consider how you might keep these silver linings going as restrictions ease. May be it’s scheduling time to connect with people you care about on the phone more often, continuing to practise that new hobby, or spending more time with your family or housemates.
Ease back in and set boundaries if you need them
As restrictions ease, some people will take longer than others to adjust to life with COVID.
Practical things such as catching public transport, going out to busy restaurants or shopping in more crowded places may take some time to get used to or be unsettling or uncomfortable for awhile.
For some of us, COVID may have helped us learn more about our limits and how much we can comfortably take on at work and in our social lives.
Consider setting boundaries on how much you take back on and be respectful of other’s limits. Talking about your needs, listening to other’s needs and planning ahead can help.
Strategies to consider include commuting separately to a group, making reservations at restaurants for quieter sitting times, wearing masks or giving each other more physical distance.
Going gently, a discussion with Professor Nicholas Procter
In the below video, UniSA Professor Nicholas Procter discusses how we can take time to go gently, plan for what’s next and take the good into our next ‘new normal’ way of life.
Need some extra COVID-19 mental health support?
Reach out for help if you need extra support - services are available to help you or someone you care for.