COVID has been a difficult time for many and as we each learn to manage and adjust to life with COVID in our community, there are simple strategies we can all use to support, protect and improve our mental health and wellbeing.
For those feeling overwhelmed, worried, anxious or unsettled, know that these feelings are normal reactions to times of so much change, challenge and uncertainty.
Whether you’re feeling on top of things at the moment or not, consider these six strategies to help you take care, boost your wellbeing or support yourself to stay calm and in control.
Being more mindful of how you’re feeling is one strategy that can help you to take care of your mental wellbeing, worry less and feel more in control.
A simple way to practise being mindful is to stop what you are doing, take three deep breaths and pay attention to what you’re feeling. Ask yourself - what emotions am I experiencing? What thoughts are passing through my mind? What sensations can I feel?
Sometimes just acknowledging the things that are affecting you can help you feel more in control. It can help you to identify your needs and take kind action to help yourself. Taking the time to reflect on what you’re feeling can also make it easier to find the words to talk to someone you trust if you need some extra support.
Explore more about mindfulness
Focus your thoughts on what's in your control
Keeping focus on what is in your control to change is a great strategy for creating more space in your mind for calm and for supporting yourself when you are feeling worried, anxious or overwhelmed.
One practical way to take focus, is to write a list of all the things you’re thinking or worrying about. Once you’ve written your thoughts down, review the list and identify the things that you can control in the short term, control in the future, and the things that are out of your control.
Being aware of what you do and don’t have control over can help to put your thoughts or worries in perspective. Try to focus your thoughts and energy on the things you can control and have the power to do something about.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, focus your attention on achievable goals that you can work towards right now. Focus on working towards a goal that is most important to you or a goal that supports your day to day needs or those of the people closest to you.
Keeping in touch with people who matter to you is one of the best things you can do to protect your own and your loved one’s mental wellbeing.
The ways we connect with those we care for will continue to change as we adjust to life with COVID. As restrictions ease in South Australia, it’s a great time to explore our connecting with others pages including ideas for connecting in nature, connecting with your community and volunteering. Keep up to date with any current restrictions via the covid-19.sa.gov.au website.
If you’re currently isolating, in quarantine or just choosing to stay more physically distanced from others right now, there are lots of ways to connect, keep in touch and reach out to your friends, family, colleagues and community.
Reach out to those you’re close to via phone or video call, hearing the voices and seeing the faces of those you care about is great for your mental wellbeing. Phone and video calls can help you feel closer and more connected to others, especially when compared to reaching out over email or text.
Other ideas include chatting to neighbours over the fence, writing a card or letter to someone you know, or engaging online through group chats, book clubs and online games. Services like Friendline are also available for anyone who wants to connect, chat or share stories.
Limit media, information intake
Choosing what you pay attention to and making time to switch off from constant information, updates, news and media streams is a great strategy for supporting your mental wellbeing.
Practise setting boundaries for yourself, checking in once a day with a credible source of news. Stick to the facts and rely on scientific information sources to help you maintain perspective. Reliable sources of information include SA Health or the Australian Government.
Practice self care
Take time to look after yourself and engage in a range of self care activities.
This can include doing things you love such as listening to music, taking a bath, finding a new hobby or practising and old one. Self care also includes practising the basics of good health and wellbeing – making sure you are getting enough sleep, eating nourishing meals, drinking plenty of water and exercising every day.
Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
Keep a routine
Keeping to a healthy daily routine is an important part of supporting your mental wellbeing.
Whether you are isolating, working from home more or just adjusting to the changes and challenges of life with COVID in the community, practising a daily routine can help give your day structure, increase your sense of control and bring comfort.
Try creating a plan for each day with set times for waking up, eating well, exercising, relaxing and going to sleep.