Like many, I was optimistic about a COVID free 2022, unfortunately that is not the case. The uncertainty that COVID brings can potentially bring up uncomfortable emotions. This is a reminder that all feelings are valid and okay, however, it is important to remember that feelings are temporary. Just like the weather changes (especially in Melbourne), how you feel from one minute, hour, day to the next may change.
So with all these changing emotions, here are some simple tips for how to keep a fit mind;
Most of us love a routine and COVID has really shaken that up. Try to go to sleep and wake up at a similar time, even if it’s just during the week (although I know that can be easier said than done with the Australian Open on at the moment). Write up a schedule that includes time for work, exercise, social connection, and self-care. It’s also important to make clear distinctions between work and non work time in your schedule. Be mindful that working from home can blur these boundaries as we’re not physically leaving the office.
‘Self care’, ‘you time’, ‘down time’, whatever you want to call it, can often sound straightforward, however, it requires conscious effort and attention. It will look different for everyone. It might be spending time on your own, watching Netflix, going for a run, enjoying a coffee, or listening to a podcast. Have a think about what down time means for you and schedule it in.
Social interaction still looks quite different, particularly at work as we are predominantly connecting through screens. Despite this, it is vital to prioritise social connection as it is very important for both our physical and mental wellbeing, and can be a protective factor against anxiety and depression. If you’re feeling nervous about face-to-face interaction, take it slow!
Move your body
It’s probably not breaking news to anyone that research shows a link between psychological wellbeing and exercise. Not only have studies shown that it impacts your mood, it has shown to increase your energy levels, and increase quality of sleep. Exercise increases serotonin (which helps to regulate mood, sleep and appetite) and increases endorphins (natural mood lifters) in the brain. Regular exercise can be a protective factor against depressive and anxiety symptoms, so get your runners on and get out there!
Focus on the here and now
You might have heard the saying ‘control the controllables’ but in these COVID times the controllables can feel far and few between. We often experience anxiety when we focus on events or situations outside our control. Try to limit time spent worrying about things you can’t control (the past and the future), instead try to focus on what is in your control – the here and the now, the present moment. Take it one day at a time.
Need Support? If you know someone who requires urgent assistance or support, please contact:
Suicide call back service: 1300 659 467
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800