How To Manage Your Wellbeing During The Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted each of us differently. Right now millions of Australian’s are still coming to terms with this ‘new normal’, as they adapt to restricted personal freedoms and ongoing uncertainty. This fundamental shift in our way of life has left many feeling anxious, depressed and isolated.
Understanding lock-down fatigue
Despite adapting to the rapid changes in our way of life, we may have surprised ourselves with our ability to juggle home schooling, Zoom catch-ups with friends, and working from home.
The ability to perform at normal levels despite significant challenegs, or stress is called Surge Capacity.
Director of the UNSW Traumatic Stress Clinic, Richard Bryant, says that Surge Capacity is, “Essentially, a pool of resources that we can draw on in stressful, or challenging times, and in the short-term, those resources are what help us perform”.
As the pandemic has continued, many of us have felt increasingly exhausted, unable to maintain the productivity and optimism we may have felt earlier on. This is because our Surge Capacity has been depleted, and we no longer have a buffer against that stress.
The good news is that we can implement some strategies to help improve our wellbeing, and protect ourselves from pandemic-related stress and fatigue.
Seek information about the pandemic from trusted sources that do not sensationalise, or exaggerate, and set limits on the frequency and amount of information you consume, especially from social media.
Acknowledge your emotions
It’s okay to feel frustrated, anxious, or stressed. Remember you’re not alone in feeling this way. Acknowledge your emotions and make deliberate and positive choices about how you respond to them.
Use the energy of anxiety, or stress to problem solve. Make plans, or lists and break down your day into achievable tasks. Ticking things off will help you feel accomplished and in control.
Keep healthy routines
Maintaining the routine and structure in our day helps us to feel in control. It helps to identify why parts of our routine are important, e.g. My evening walk is important, because I notice that I sleep better when I exercise in the evening.
Connect with others
Make deliberate choices to stay connected with those you care about, even if you don’t feel like it. Connecting with those we care about releases chemicals in our brain that helps improve our mood and wellbeing.
Focus on what you can control
Invest your energy where it can make a difference and focus on the things that are within your control.
Investing your energy in worry over the pandemic wont change the outcome, however wearing a mask, sanitising your hands, and following public health guidelines will.
Ask yourself, what’s one small thing that I can do right now, that is within my control to help me feel better about the situation?
When working from home it can be hard to separate being ‘on the clock’ from the rest of your home life.
Working significant overtime, and blurring the lines between work and home will have a detrimental impact on your long-term wellbeing.
Set clear boundaries between work and home by establishing a dedicated work space that you can leave at the end of the day, and be deliberate about setting start and finish times.
One in five Australians will experience mental health challenges in any given year, however less than half will access support to improve their mental health and wellbeing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, and in need of support, that is okay.