Here at ALRA, we interview hundreds of Australians every week. As a result, we’re well aware of the challenges and pressures people are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are handling it better than others, and whilst everyone’s situations are inherently unique, there are some common threads that have emerged for those doing better than others.
We’ve put together a list of six things that we see are making a positive impact to people compared to those who seem to be struggling. As simple as they are, they work.
1. Exercise and Good Food Lift Your Mood
We all know how important diet and exercise are to our wellbeing. However, in times of stress it’s easy for our good intentions to be undermined and for unhealthy habits to develop. Maybe your usual routine involves going to the gym which is currently closed and so you’re at a loss for what to replace it with, or perhaps you’ve been eating and drinking more than you would usually.
It’s completely understandable and indulging yourself a bit at this tough time is fine but you’re going to feel so much better if you’re able to prioritise exercise and a healthy diet. Many practitioners have free online resources that can help with this, some of our favourites include: Yoga with Adriene, Jo Kate Nutrition and for kids, PE with Joe.
2. Maintain Getting Ready for Work Rituals
Not so long ago the majority of us weren’t working from home. Showering and making ourselves presentable for work was the norm when we had somewhere to be and colleagues to physically interact with. Now, it’s all too easy to roll out of bed and into our at home work-space if we want to. The result can be that we don’t start the day feeling or being as productive. Try and keep to an at home ritual for getting ready for work that sets you up well for the working day.
3. Keep Up Your Connections
We are social creatures and it’s hard when lockdowns and physical distancing measures are keeping us apart. Yet, we are lucky that technology allows us to connect via calls, texts, emails, social media and video chats. Of course, “in real life” interactions are preferable but there are numerous ways to make it fun and still connect with others, such as themed online dinner parties and trivia nights.
4. Help Others
We’re all being challenged at this time but there are some people who are really doing it tough, having experienced job loss or a reduction in income. Facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic is no one’s fault, however it can be hard to reach out for help. If you’re struggling, don’t underestimate how many people within your networks would be willing and eager to help. If you’re in a position to, think about giving back to those in your community who are having a difficult time. Support your local restaurants, cafes and stores. If you know people who have been affected think about practical ways you could be of assistance to them, such as sending a fruit and vegetable box.
5. Celebrations Don’t Have to be Cancelled
By now, many of us have experienced the disappointment of having to cancel a planned birthday party or other significant occasion due to pandemic restrictions. Those of us in lockdown are all looking forward to partying together once we can, but in the meantime, it’s worth making the effort not to postpone everything. The restrictions are limiting but there are still fun ways to celebrate and connect with our loved ones, such as a Zoom birthday party with an artist tutorial or musician performing.
6. Goals Inspire Us
Planning and goal setting can feel a little futile in uncertain times. We’re living lives that are more limited than they once were, and this can lead to a sense of despondency and inertia. However, now is the perfect time to set the course for what you want to achieve and the adventures you hope to take once the world opens up again. Reflect on what you value and where you’d like to be professionally and personally in the next 5 and 10 years. Plan that dream holiday to Europe. The paradox is that not everything we aim for will happen, as John Lennon famously said, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” But that’s not to say we shouldn’t plan, we just need to also accept that inevitably things will happen to us that are out of control and it’s how we adapt to these changes that shapes us.
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