We have certainly had our fair share of lock downs in Melbourne, and yes we are a little more experienced in how to cope, than the rest of Australia. But that doesn’t mean it is any easier. The fact is, lock down fatigue is starting to set in and people are struggling more and more. More mentally, emotionally and financially. Between working from home, navigating business, remote learning for your kids, isolation from loved ones, inability to travel anywhere, it is all starting to get too much. So how to do cope without falling apart?
Be kind to yourself:
Firstly you need to be a little more kind to yourself and a little more patient. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to do everything perfectly. Working from home and coordinating home schooling, for example, are very difficult. So if there is noise during a Zoom meeting, the kids are still in jammies, you or the kids or both need an hour off, or even the day off, step back, take a breath, and do what you need to do to survive. Limit the pressure. If the dishes pile up it doesn’t really matter. If you don’t quite get a chance to vacuum don’t stress, it isn’t going anywhere, you can still tackle it tomorrow or the next day. If you child is struggling getting reading done, give them, and you, a break. Right now it’s just about surviving as best you can.
Be kind to others:
Though we are all in the same storm, we are all in different boats. Everyone is experience their own level of hard, so be a little more patient with people. Whether it’s the people in your home, your loved ones, your community, or the strangers you encounter in food stores, hospitality, etc. Be patient, be kind.
One of the worst things you can do is sit around all day. Whether that’s sitting at your desk, couch, or other, that level of inactivity is going to more harm than good physically, mentally and emotionally. Get up every half hour from your desk, walk around a bit, have a stretch, take a few deep breaths, before sitting back down to work. Go for a walk, do some exercise, or be active in the garden. Activity releases serotonin, your happy hormone. It helps boost your mood. Lethargy breeds lethargy. The more you sit around, the lazier you start to feel, the lower your mood drops, the lower your emotional state drops. So move around, as much as you can.
Get some sunshine:
This isn’t always easy in Melbourne if the weather isn’t playing nice, but where you can, get out and absorb some sunshine as much as you can. Sun rays have been proven to increase your serotonin levels and help boost your mood and emotional state.
Limit snacks, junk food and alcohol:
Snacks, junk food and alcohol (Covid calories) increase inflammation and stress in your body. Add to that the added calories and increase in weight, you may then start to feel uncomfortable within yourself. The higher the inflammation the harder your immune system has to work, so you find yourself feeling unwell easier too. All of this in conjunction brings your mood down, you start to feel miserable and often then turn back to the food and alcohol that started this feeling in the first place; emotional eating/drinking. And so starts the vicious cycle. Instead, eat at least four wholesome nutritious meals over the day to help you feel full and satiated and limit cravings and boredom eating.
Stay connected to your friends, family, loved ones and communities. Speak to people on the phone, message, chat, jump onto face time, Zoom calls etc. The more connected you remain, the less isolated you feel. If you live alone, reach out to someone that can be your buddy that you can still see during the lock downs. Don’t lock yourself away into loneliness.
Check in on people:
If you have loved ones that live a lone, are vulnerable, elderly, unwell, check in on them. A simple phone call can make all the difference. Does anyone need anything, including food? Perhaps they have lost their job and need some sort of support. Even just a virtual shoulder is enough sometimes.
Take advantage of the extra time:
If you are finding you have lots of time on your hands, rather than getting into your own head, take up a new hobby, jump on Google and learn something new, a new craft, skill or maybe learn a new language. Clean out those cupboards you have wanted to sort out for so long. Fix that broken fence. Whatever it takes to help you stay busy, active and keep you from going stir crazy.
If you are struggling financially as a result of the lock down, ensure you reach out to the right resources to see if you are able to obtain any support. Contact Centrelink, Business Victoria, the Food Bank, Red Cross. Google support. There are many organizations that can help in some way.
Mental Health Support:
If you are struggling with your mental health, please, please, please, reach out to Life Line, Beyond Blue, your GP, or any other organization that can help you during these difficult times. Reach out to a friend, or other loved one. You don’t have to do this alone.
And finally, if you need any support please ensure you reach out to any of us at TF. We are more than happy to be your support person.
We’ve got this!
– Coach Terri