The new normal: It’s OK to want to take it slow
- Not everyone is excited about the lockdown ending, and that’s OK.
- We’ve curated some tips for taking it at your own pace.
- Why you should examine your online scrolling habits.
- Discover some tips for self-care and reaching out for help.
Lockdown is ending. YAY! Right?
If you’re one of the many who’s feeling a tad tentative about the world reopening, let us assure you that you’re not alone. Australians have been living with restrictions (and resultant lockdown fatigue) for the better part of two years now. And for some, the upcoming freedom with all its uncertainty may actually feel a bit daunting.
If this sounds like you, here are some tips to help you create boundaries and look after your physical and emotional health and wellbeing as we open up.
Take it at your own pace
Just because pubs will now be open, it doesn’t mean you need to be the first in line. There are a bunch of ways to celebrate the lockdown ending while still practising caution. Just think about what you’re comfortable with, then make plans that suit your needs.
Picnics in other LGAs? Backyard dinner parties? A camping trip with a few friends? These are all great ways to ease your way back into post-lockdown life without inviting hordes of people into your home or joining large crowds.
The key is that there’s no right and wrong here. So set your own boundaries and make plans you can look forward to.
Confide in a friend
If you’re feeling tentative about post-lockdown life (perhaps wondering what emotional health and wellbeing actually is anyway these days), you may benefit from reaching out to a friend.
The relationship between social connections and health has been well documented: research suggests that maintaining positive friendships may decrease your risk of health problems. And what’s more, you’ll probably find that you’re not alone in your concerns.
Continue practising COVID-safe habits
Regardless of how restrictions may ease over the coming months, make sure you’re always following the Government’s health advice. And, if you’re not comfortable dropping precautions, then don’t. You can choose to continue to protect yourself and your family in ways that work for you and make you feel comfortable.
Social distancing, mask-wearing and good hand hygiene have all become normal in our culture over the past two years. And, there’s no reason you can’t keep them all up indefinitely.
Get your information from credible sources - and consider limiting exposure
If you’re feeling crap all the time, you may want to consider examining your online habits.
Are you scrolling (or deep-diving into a COVID rabbit hole) daily? Keeping informed about COVID-related news is a great idea, but it’s essential to get your information from a credible source. And ensure you’re not overwhelming yourself with a lot of negativity.
To make informed decisions for yourself and your family, you need to be vigilant about where you get your information, and how much of it you consume.
A 2014 study (unsurprisingly) found that the amount to which people searched for health information online could affect their likelihood of experiencing health anxiety. The study dubbed this phenomenon 'cyberchondria'. So be aware of the possibility that searching for health information online may exacerbate your stress.
If you want to stay informed, there’s a range of reputable, accurate sources that can quickly help you stay informed about the latest pandemic-related developments. This FAQ page is a great place to start.
Knowing about these developments can then help you make the best-for-you decisions for you and your family.
But you can also follow the advice of:
- the Australian Society for Infectious Diseases
- the Australian Government Department of Health
- your GP
Sleeping well, eating a healthy diet, exercising and generally taking care of yourself may help to increase your overall feelings of wellbeing.
In other words, if you wonder why you’re feeling like crap all the time, the answer could be as simple as doing all the things you already know you should. A little game of self-care bingo or investing in that face oil you’ve been wanting probably won’t hurt either.
Don’t forget a gratitude practice too. According to this study, “people who use gratitude journals and/or those for day-to-day recording show higher mental wellness than those who journal for negative emotional expression or who do not journal at all”.
It’s also a super-easy way to get kids practising gratitude. Can’t hurt, right?
Reach out for help
It’s totally OK to not be OK right now. Some people have lockdown fatigue, while others have opening-up fears. And it’s entirely possible that many people are currently experiencing both at the same time.
If you have any concerns about your physical or mental wellness, consider booking a check-up with your GP.
- Who’s ready for a post-lockdown glow-up?
- Your post-lockdown health checklist
- What is your immune system and how does it work?
Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board October 2021.