First, it’s important to know that it can be normal to be feeling anxious or apprehensive. Lockdown may have ended, but that doesn’t mean the virus has. If you don’t feel ready to take on the world just 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 will I need a booster shot? Is it safe to travel again? 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 more 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 and social media. Stick to government health department websites so you’re just getting updated on the facts and details you need to know.
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.
Medibank members with hospital cover can also download the Better Minds app. The app features wellbeing checks, evidence-based strategies and skills to assist in developing mental resilience. You also have access to one-on-one coaching with a mental health professional.
Find a working from home balance
If you’re not looking forward to swapping your active wear for corporate gear, or you’re keen to avoid the morning commute you’re in good company. According to an Australian Government Productivity Commission, most workers want to continue to work from home – for at least some of the time. If you’ve found working from home has boosted your work-life balance and you’ve been working effectively, now may be a good time to open up the discussion about working flexibly with your employer.
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 3pm snacking a little more than usual when working from home, start thinking about cutting back or swapping your snacks out for healthier options. If you’ve been drinking more, start to think about how much, when and why you’re drinking. You can read more about alcohol consumption and what constitutes a standard drink 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 lockdowns. And others might be feeling worried about what will happen when borders open again. Given the daily death counts, 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 how you can support a friend or loved on who may be struggling mentally, you can read more here.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek help
You’re not alone. If you need support there are people and organisations you can reach out to.
Eligible Medibank members with hospital cover can also call our Medibank Mental Health Phone Support service 24/7 on 1800 644 325*.
Visit Medibank’s Better Minds hub for information, guidance and mental health support. Members with hospital cover can also download the Better Minds app.
*OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.