2021 has certainly been a challenging year for our country, and many others around the world. At Co.As.It. we have continued to provide support to the Italian-Australian community throughout this very challenging and extended lockdown period. As the state edges closer towards a 70% double-dose vaccination milestone, there are promises of greater freedoms and less restrictions on the horizon. Soon, our lives will change again, as we come out of our homes and LGAs and begin to adapt to the new norm of living with Covid-19. As we open up, feelings of anxiety and uncertainty might also arise. Questions regarding what work and life will look like, when we can travel again and how we can safely interact with our friends, families and communities might come to mind. If you are trying to mentally prepare for life after lockdown, or feeling anxious, then here are some tips from the Co.As.It. mental health team to help you through this transitional time.
- Accept uncertainty
If the past couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that the only certainty in life is uncertainty! Even though we know that there is a lot we can’t predict, especially about life after lockdown, we can still find ourselves becoming anxious, trying to control situations and feeling helpless or hopeless about the future. A much more helpful way to approach uncertainty is to practice acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean that we like or enjoy a situation, it just means that we are willing to live with it. We accept what is beyond our control, and instead of fighting against uncertainty, we learn to cope with it.
- Stay in the present moment.
A great way we can cope with uncertainty is by changing our focus towards the present moment. In psychology, the technique for focusing on the present moment is called mindfulness. Mindfulness reorients our attention towards the here and now, and away from anxious thoughts about the future. You can practice mindfulness by engaging your senses, doing muscle relaxation exercises or meditating. Other helpful strategies include journaling your thoughts, talking to a trusted friend or counsellor, finding something to laugh about, practising gratitude and deep breathing.
- Engage in helpful activities
Even though this current lockdown has been challenging, it has also been a good opportunity for many of us to create some helpful routines, develop new healthy habits and appreciate our friends and family even more. As we move out of lockdown, it is important to maintain these helpful activities, such as exercising regularly, prioritising social contact and practicing good self-care. Many of us have also used the extra time at home to cultivate hobbies such as baking, puzzles, painting, reading, knitting and learning a language. Even though we might be spending less time at home in the near future, there is no reason why we should stop these hobbies. By continuing to engage in helpful activities, and following the evolving health advice, we can approach life after lockdown with a sense of positivity, productivity and mindfulness.
So, how will the next few months unfold as we approach life after lockdown? We don’t know exactly. However, by using these strategies, we will learn to cope with uncertainty and adjust to the greater freedoms that await.
If you would like information about our free counselling services please CLICK HERE.