During times of uncertainty, it is normal to feel anxious, worried or concerned. Here we share some ways you can care for your mental health during and where you can turn for further support.
Social isolation can be just that, isolating, but in our digital age we are able to stay connected from wherever. FaceTime, social media or even a simple phone call are a great way to stay connected. If you have a regular catch up with your friends, make it a virtual catch up! Weekly rituals such as afternoon tea with your family, recreate it at home through Skype. For kids who normally play soccer on a Saturday, get the ball out in the backyard and play as a family. If your teens normally meet up with mates on the weekend, encourage an online catch up. And don’t forget to check in on loved ones. A simple message to let them know you’re thinking of them may brighten their day.
MAKE A LIST
Put pen to paper and make a list of all the little things that make a difference to your mood and mindset that you can do at home. It could be playing music, stretching, lighting a candle or writing down the things you are grateful for each day. Stick your list to the fridge or keep it somewhere close to remind you of these little practices that may seem small but make a big difference to your overall mindset.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Your kids may be home practising the piano or learning a language. If time allows, join in and expand your skill set. You can practise a second language with your child over dinner or learn a song together. Alternatively, the family could start a compost bin to help manage increased food scraps in the family home or start a home veggie patch.
TAKE A MOMENT
If you’re struggling to find quiet moments in your day with the family more often than usual, set an alarm to wake up before the family. Enjoy your morning coffee outside in silence, do a home workout, try a daily meditation, take the dog for a walk or simply scroll through your phone if that’s what brings you happiness. If you’re not an early bird, schedule time for yourself throughout the day or at night to do something for you. And if you’re really getting cabin fever, go for a quick drive to get out of the house.
COOK UP A STORM
Get creative in the kitchen! Studies have suggested cooking has therapeutic benefits so there isn’t a better time to look after your mental health (and your family’s health) with a nutritious homemade meal. It’s also generally cheaper to cook your own meals and snacks rather than buying prepared, pre-portioned or takeaway options.
If you’re finding you need more support during this time for yourself or your family members, your GP or mental health professional are great places to seek advice. If you’d like support from your home, Lifeline (13 11 14) and Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) can be accessed for phone and online counselling. Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) also has a Mental Health Support Service, offering free 24/7 counselling by mental health professionals online and over the phone.
Stephanie Meekings is a Digital Media Officer at Cairns Catholic Education