Stay Strong VIC: 10 Tips to help you through
With additional restrictions coming into place across Victoria, it’s important to recognise that each person and family will be impacted differently. There will be easier days and there will be harder days. Be kind to yourself, reach out for support and please remember it’s ok not to be ok during this challenging time.
For those outside Victoria, we urge you to respect and acknowledge that we’re not all doing it the same at the moment, extending compassion and empathy to others is key.
For our Victorian community, we’ve put together some wellbeing tips to get you through those harder days:
- Get distracted – If you’re experiencing negative thoughts or feelings try putting together a list of positive distractions. And why not get creative in the process? Things like listening to music, doing some gentle movement, drawing, painting or even sewing together your own mask could be great distractions and improve your mental health in the process.
- Take a break from your feed – Whether its intense COVID-19 coverage, speculation from well-meaning friends or seeing the rest of the country go about life ‘normally’, social media can really exacerbate negative and unhelpful thoughts, feelings and attitudes. Try switching off for a few days and connect with friends or family via different means.
- Plan your day – Establish a routine that works for you and those you are living with. This can help you to organise your day and the way you spend your time. If a loss of routine is a trigger for you, creating this structure around your day can be helpful, e.g. getting dressed, getting outside for some fresh air as permitted, facetiming or speaking to friends, learning a new skill or hobby or planning out some activities.
- Zoom Fatigue is a real thing – Speaking to people via video apps is not always fun, especially for those who are using these functions for school, study and/or work. If you need a break from video chats, it’s ok to ask to chat over the phone or just message – do what works for you!
- Self-care journaling – When you’re overwhelmed or experiencing a range of different emotions, try putting pen to paper. Sometimes the best way to identify and address how you’re feeling is to write it out.
- What would you say to a friend? – If you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, think about what you would say to a friend if they were saying the same negative things to you. Would you show them compassion? Kindness? Empathy?
- 5 senses check – If you find yourself feeling anxious or stressed, try taking a moment to be present and ground yourself by acknowledging your five senses. What can you see, hear, touch, smell and taste in that moment?
- Keep in touch with health professionals – Ensure you keep up your regular appointments as it’s important to keep support around you. While telehealth or over the phone may not be the preferred way, it can help you and your mental health during this time and that’s what’s most important.
- Access additional mental health support– The Australian Government has announced it will provide 10 additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions for Victorians on Mental Health Treatment Plans that are subjected to COVID-19 restrictions.
- Pay it forward – If you’re feeling good, share the love, send a note, care package or message to someone you miss or who you know is struggling. Doing kind and thoughtful things for others makes us feel good!
Above all, remind yourself that while this is really tough, you are tougher. Taking it one day at a time can really help, as thinking too far ahead can increase worry, stress, frustration, helplessness and sadness. Continue to find ways to inject positivity (apps, podcasts, affirmation cards, funny and interesting TV series) into your day and your thinking and remember, if you’re not feeling ok you are not alone. We’re always here for you, our Helpline counsellors are just a call, webchat message or e-mail away.