To go out or not to go out? While the easing of social distancing restrictions had many of us knocking on the doors of our friends and loved ones, for some people, adjusting to elements of ‘normal’ life again may take a bit more time. Yes, the rules have eased, but the threat of COVID-19 and concerns of a second wave are still present. If you don’t feel ready to take on the world yet, remember it’s OK to take things slowly.
Use the one-step-at-a-time mentality for embracing change
You don’t have to embrace all the changes in one go. Try breaking things down into smaller goals to help you cope. You might not feel comfortable going to an all-night dinner party, but you could try meeting a friend for some one-on-one time.
Reach out to others
People around you such as mentors and loved ones could be a source of support and may also have strategies to help you. It’s much easier to talk to someone than go it alone.
Be aware of what you can and can’t control
When it comes to COVID-19 we don’t know what the future holds. Will I catch it? When can I travel again? Is a vaccine coming? These are just some of the questions that can keep us up at night. Uncertainty can cause anxiety. Try to accept what you cannot control and focus on what you’re comfortable doing and what you enjoy. If it helps to keep your anxiety levels down, try taking a break from reading too much in the news.
Keep your stress levels in check
Meditation and relaxation exercises are great ways to manage your stress levels, and improving the way you handle stress can also help you cope with change. If you’re new to meditation you can try the Smiling Mind app. The app features fun programs for children and adults including daily meditations. Download the app for free here.
The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has created a great podcast for Parenting in the Time of Coronavirus. Supported by Medibank and delivered by child health experts, the podcast addresses the challenges parents are facing during this time and offers advice that can help them to encourage their children to learn, thrive and develop during the pandemic.
Keep up with the positive changes you’ve made
As you’ve adapted to spending more time at home you may have picked up some positive changes such as exercising more or starting a new hobby. Anything that helps you feel more relaxed is a good thing. Don’t stop just because restrictions have eased.
Slowly shake off the negative changes
Our lifestyles have changed during the pandemic and for some this has meant succumbing to unhealthy habits such as eating or drinking more than usual. As mentioned earlier, breaking down changes into smaller goals can help. You can do this with being healthier too. If you’ve been snacking at 3pm a little more than usual, start thinking about cutting back or swapping your snacks out for healthier options. In terms of alcohol, start to think about how much, when and why you’re drinking. You can read more on how to handle your alcohol consumption during the pandemic here.
Remember that everyone will embrace change differently
Be patient with others. Some people may have underlying health conditions or live with people who do. Others may just feel uneasy about going back into public spaces and crowds. Even the thought of socialising could be making people feel awkward after so long in lockdown. Given the daily case numbers, bad news and isolation we’ve faced over the last few months it makes sense if someone isn’t feeling ready. Let people readjust in their own time. If you want to know more about supporting others during COVID-19 you can visit here.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek help
And remember that you’re not alone. If you need support there are people and organisations you can reach out to.
Medibank Mental Health Phone Support Members with Hospital cover* can talk with a mental health professional over the phone in relation to any mental health or emotional concern, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Call 1800 644 325.
*OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.