COVID-19 has undoubtedly launched us into a very different world with dramatic impacts to almost every aspect of our lives. Adjusting and coping can be very challenging. It’s important to recognise that we are vulnerable to a host of different emotions and reactions which can even vary over a day. It is more important than ever to maintain our mental health.
Here’s my top 5 tips for thriving at this time:
- Stay connected. While we’re physically distancing, social connection is as important, if not more important, than ever. Create a list of the people you care about – relatives, friends, colleagues and create a schedule to check in with them. There’s so many communication channels from the phone through to platforms such as Zoom and Houseparty which allow you to have a visual connection and to connect with multiple people at once. If you’re struggling, please don’t do this alone, reach out to someone. When we’re distressed it’s more difficult to find solutions and, as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. Next time it might well be you in the supporter role.
- Access assistance. Whether it’s financial, practical or emotional, there is heaps of help available to you. Reach out early. There is no shame in accessing government assistance, these are ‘unprecedented’ times. Seek out what you have available to you through sites such as the Federal Government’s website which outlines a range of support including the Job Seeker and Job Keeper allowances, rent assistance and emergency assistance and support. Talk to friends and family who may have information and ideas that could help you.
- Stay informed but not overwhelmed. It would be easy to tune into a constant stream of information about COVID-19 but let’s not forget that the media has a negativity bias. Consider checking in for information once or twice a day. Trusted sources might include the ABC news and official government sites such ‘Head to Health’.
- Look after yourself. Self-care is critical so keep up a healthy diet, good sleep habits, some form of exercise and spend time doing something that brings you joy. Nature can be a great place to recharge, whether it’s taking a walk or even having lunch in the back yard.
- Focus on what you can control. It’s easy for our thoughts to run away from us and for negativity to seep in. What we focus on grows whether it’s good or bad. Try to reframe negative thoughts by looking for another way of seeing a situation – there can be a possible silver lining in most challenges. This is a time of much uncertainty but there is also a possibility that there will be some aspects of the current challenges that will positively impact the way we do life and business in the future.
Following are websites that may be useful for supporting yourself or others at this time:
Lifeline – 13 11 14
My recent webinar on Staying Healthy During COVID-19 expands on these points and offers a number of resilience strategies to help you to THRIVE during the pandemic and beyond. You can watch it here.
Donna Thistlethwaite is Brisbane-based speaker and trainer specialising in mental health and resilience. She is an accredited Mental Health First Aid instructor with a passion for suicide prevention and for helping individuals, teams and organisations to THRIVE.