With so much change and uncertainty in the current environment, many people are struggling with their mental health and suffering increased anxiety. Alfred Senior Psychologist Luke said this was very common, and has offered some tips to help people cope during difficult times.
Are you caught in the media cycle?
There is a fine line between being informed and getting overwhelmed. Learn the facts from reputable sources like the Department of Health and Human Services or Alfred Health. Consider limiting your news consumption to one or two reliable sources for less than 30 minutes a day.
Are you watching your thoughts?
Anxiety tempts us to prepare for every possible ‘worst case’ scenario we can imagine. This this can be exhausting. To keep things in perspective, try asking yourself:
- Am I only imagining the worst case scenario, rather than what is most likely?
- Am I only paying attention to bad news stories and ignoring everything else?
- Am I forgetting about my strengths and supports, and underestimating my ability to cope? Have I got through difficult times before?
Are you feeling stressed-out?
Anxiety causes our body to go into a ‘high alert’ state. It’s a great time to incorporate some calming exercises into your daily routine, such as:
- Slow, controlled breathing
- Light exercise
- Stretching and yoga
- Mindfulness and meditation
Are you practicing self-care and keeping up positive routines?
Focus on what you can control right now: eat well, sleep well, do things that make you happy, and avoid using substances to cope with stress.
Don’t forget to keep doing things you would normally do – even if you have to make a few small adjustments for a while.
Are you keeping connected to your support network and local community?
It’s important to keep up relationships with your friends and loved ones. You may need to get creative - video calling is easier than ever before.
Look out for those around you: helping others provides a positive focus and a sense of connectedness. It reminds us that we are all dealing with this together.
Do you need extra support?
If you want extra support, speak to your GP. Medicare has made provisions for mental health professionals to use phone and video-assisted consultations in certain circumstances. Otherwise you can visit online and phone support services such as Beyond Blue.