While many of us knew the time would come, it doesn’t make being in lockdown again any easier. Everyone deals with things differently and it’s natural that many New Zealanders will be feeling uncertain, anxious or scared given the current situation. Remember: these are all normal responses to what we are all going through. It’s particularly important to ensure you’re looking after your mental health at times like this: here are some strategies you might like to try.
Maintain a routine
While this can be hard when lockdown has thrown many schedules out the window, it’s important to try and maintain a routine. This could mean keeping your morning alarm set, dressing for the day ahead (if you’re working from home, for example, it’s best to try and wear normal business attire) and taking standard meal breaks.
It’s not just the body that craves physical exercise: it’s a brilliant way to destress the mind too.A walk around the block (staying two-metres apart from others of course), a short bike ride around your local area, a yoga session or even an impromptu boogie in the lounge are all great ways of keeping active over this period.
Do something you love
Don’t feel guilty about taking time out to do the things that make you happy. If you’ve been meaning to finish that book or television series, now’s the perfect time. Are you more of an active relaxer? A jigsaw, boardgame, or crossword might be the ticket for you. Perhaps there’s something you’ve been putting off, such as learning a new skill or finishing that thing you started a year ago? Well, now’s your opportunity!
Take the time to look after yourself and reach out to people who make you feel loved and supported. Pick up the phone and check in with your friends, family and neighbours to see how they’re coping. If you prefer seeing people ‘face to face’, there are a range of online messaging applications like Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp that offer free video calling. And if your loved ones live overseas, you can always let your fingers do the talking and send them a long email.
Don’t be afraid to tell people how you’re feeling
If you’re feeling low or out of sorts, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone. Hopefully you have someone you feel comfortable talking to – such as a close friend or family member – but not everyone does. Remember: you can call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The following organisations also have resources to help people cope over this time:
Unite against COVID-19 is a great source for health and wellbeing resources.
The Mental Health Foundation has several resources to help people who may be struggling.
All Right? has loads of practical ideas on looking after yourself and your whānau.
World Health Organisation has a list of ways to look after your mental health at home.
Ministry of Health has information and tools available to support your own and others’ mental wellbeing and where to get help if you need it.