Two strategies to help cope with lockdown

By adopting coping strategies to deal with the stress of lockdown we can make the challenge much easier.

With the ongoing challenges of lockdown, it is important to do what we can to stay positive and look to a freer, happier place on the horizon.

A recent study found that people who can balance ‘living in the here and now’ with planning for the future, are more resistant to the challenges of negative emotions and resilient in the face of stress.

The study looked at two different ways of managing stress: ‘mindfulness’ and ‘proactive coping’.

Mindfulness involves living in the moment, while proactive coping involves planning for things as a way to minimise future stress. The results showed that making plans for the future was helpful for managing daily stress, but it was best used when coupled with living in the present.

Connect Health & Community senior practitioner, Jessica, says that being able to balance the many mental health pressures during lockdown and find a ‘happy place’ between the here and now, and planning, will bring best results.

“Studies show that it's important to find joy in the moment – like the scent of freshly bloomed flowers, hearing your kids laugh or dancing to your favourite song - but when you are struggling to cope, thinking about things that you want to do in the future can help you manage difficult feelings and stress.  Then you can look to a time in the not-to-distant future, where you can do things differently, go further from home to a different open space, plan a zoom catch-up with friends or even look to that holiday in the future,” she said.

Some fun things to do while living in the now, include:

  • Make an adventure out of every walk by taking a different path each time.
  • Dropping what you’re doing to get out in the sunshine (even for a few minutes) whenever it appears.
  • Start every day with a different musical soundtrack, playing your favourite music through breakfast.
  • Call a different friend each day to chat and laugh.
  • Read a book you have been meaning to read.
  • Organise for a group of friends to catch up for a cuppa online. If you used to meet on a Friday, why note reactivate the date and get all the faces on one screen together, just like the good old days.
  • Fancy Fridays – dress up each Friday, for the whole day or just dinner.
  • Run a bath and soak away the stress.

And fun things to plan could include:

  • House date night – pick a night in the near future and plan a special meal where everyone helps prepare the food and dresses up in their favourite outfit. If you live alone, you could plan and connect online with a friend.
  • Expanded radius – with our new 15km radius, grab a map make a list of fun places to explore in your new zone.
  • Online quiz – why not get a group of friends together for an online quiz. Find a date that suits and write your own questions, before hosting the extravaganza online. You could even offer prizes.
  • Christmas – yes, it is just around the corner. You could write a list of things you plan to do this year or take advantage of online sales to get your shopping underway.
  • Holidays – when you have a spare minute or two, why not plan that fantasy getaway. Research locations, activities etc and be ready for when the world opens up. You could even start to learn a language if you really want to put some air between you and home.

Connect Health & Community offers counselling services to help our community manage life’s challenges.  For more information about services and wait times, call us on 03) 9575 5333 or visit https://connecthealth.org.au/our-services-programs-groups/counselling/

For crisis support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

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