We’re tired, we’re frustrated, and we’re worried for the health of our loved ones. In times of uncertainty like this, when we don’t know how long we’ll be stuck at home or what the next major change could be, it’s important to ground ourselves by focusing on what is certain.
Stay Informed, But Know Your Limits
The biggest difference between this lockdown and the last three we’ve experienced in Melbourne is that this time, we’re in the middle of our vaccine rollout. However, there’s a lot of false and misleading information out there, so it’s important to keep up with the facts. Following trusted news sources, such as the ABC, and keeping an eye on the government’s official websites is the best way to make sure you have the information you need about how to protect yourself and your loved ones.
But at the same time, trying to stay informed and in control can lead to doomscrolling, leaving us constantly immersed in every bit of bad news our phones can present us. It leads to more distress and can make it hard to get on with our lives in the limited ways we still can. It’s important to remember to put our phones away, even moving them to a different room, before it gets too much.
Reaching out enough to know the facts but not so much we get sucked into the fear and conspiracy of online spaces is a tough balancing act, but it’s one we’ll have to keep trying to do. Limiting our news and social media consumption to particular times of the day – mimicking, for example, reading the morning paper or watching the 6pm news bulletin – can help us moderate our anxiety.
Support Your Local Community
Just like the previous lockdowns, many of your favourite local businesses are still available for takeaway food or click and collect. However, unlike the last lockdowns, the Federal Government is no longer running the JobKeeper scheme to help them pay their employees and cope with the drop in business.
The State Government has created a $250 million business support package to help, and it’s yet to be seen whether the Federal Government will change their mind since the lockdown was extended, but lots of businesses are still facing a tough financial period. It’s more important than ever that we all continue to support our local communities however we can.
Not only is our support good for local businesses, but it helps us as well – having a tangible way to help those around us can keep up our sense of purpose while we wait for things to go back to normal (and we won’t judge you if a little retail therapy is just what you need!).
Take Care of Your Mental Health
By this point we know that it’s completely normal for lockdowns to make us feel particularly low or irritable. While looking after our mental health is always important, right now we need to be even more conscious about how we’re looking after ourselves.
Finding activities that ground you in the present moment, like meditating or exercising, are a great way to bring yourself back when you’re getting lost in the uncertainty. Hobbies that involve physically making something, whether you’re baking, fixing things, knitting, or gardening, can be a great way to calm your thoughts and remember that your small actions can create something new.
And as much as it’s a cliché, remembering that we aren’t alone in this is one of the best ways to power through. Staying connected with our loved ones also stuck in Victoria or reaching out for more professional support are vital ways of keeping on top of it all.
The Australian Psychological Association has some great guides on managing mental health during lockdowns, and if you or anyone you know needs extra support, you can contact:
From the Melbourne-based Casper team to others stuck in lockdown, we send you our best wishes and have our fingers crossed for a safe opening up soon.
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