During a period of high stress and pressure it can be hard to know what to do. The following resources can help guide you through difficult times.
Relationships Australia WA acknowledges many people’s lives were, and may continue to be, disrupted due to the ever changing challenges COVID-19.
We continue to deliver support services for people across Western Australia in different ways during difficult times and and the importance of healthy relationships has never been greater. Our staff provide support services face-to-face, over the telephone, or online to clients across the state.
If you are feeling concerned about yourself, your family or relationships, contact us on 1300 364 277 or browse our website which will contain information which may be useful to you.
The importance of MOVEMENT The importance of CONNECTION
Exercise and movement is essential for your physical and mental wellbeing and the endorphins will help keep low moods at bay. If you have time on your hands you might choose to do a short exercise session twice or even three times a day. Here are three tips for moving during isolation:
- Move outside - It is important we try to get outside for some fresh air and to keep in touch with nature while you walk, jog or run in your local neighbourhood. Ensure you get outside once a day for 30 minutes, which can have a positive effect on our mood and help us re-energise.
- Move at home – Start the day with some movement. It could be dancing to an upbeat song, engaging in yoga practice, or joining an online exercise routine. Find a form of movement you enjoy that you can do in your backyard or living room.
- Move online – support your local gym, dance, yoga or Pilates instructor and sign up for an online class or video to keep moving. There are also many exercise videos available on YouTube for free.
The importance of SELF-CARE
Connection is essential for mental health. There may be times where self-isolation and quarantine measures are necessary to keep us and our community safe. However they can also keep us away from our loved ones. Here are three tips for connecting during isolation:
- Connect with family – once a day for at least 30 minutes via phone or video chat (FaceTime, WhatsApp or Zoom etc.) It’s important to continue connecting to our loved ones during this time.
- Connect with friends or colleagues – reach out to your close friends to receive and offer a listening ear in this time of isolation. Also, with so many people losing their jobs or working from home it’s easy to lose connection with colleagues. Pick up the phone or organise a video conference to stay connected.
- Snail Mail! If you know someone who doesn’t have internet, perhaps send them an old-fashioned handwritten letter or card. Receiving mail could make someone’s day. Adding a drawing, cutting out some fun pictures from a magazine or simply using different coloured pens could lift their mood too. It will also serve as an activity for you during your day.
The importance of KEEPING PERSPECTIVE
Self-care is essential for mental health. We can’t look after others or the community if we don’t first look after ourselves. Here are three tips for self-care..
- Healthy Eating, Hydration and Sleep – Eating fresh healthy food, drinking enough water and getting at least 7 hours sleep are the most essential forms of self-care. In times of stress it’s easy to reach for comfort food, drink alcohol or stay up late but the ‘good feels’ don’t last long. Try preparing a healthy meal, drinking water and getting a solid night’s sleep for self-care.
- Relaxation – once a day for at least 30 minutes find time to relax. Some ideas for relaxation include taking a bath, meditating (use a free Australian app like Smiling Mind or Headspace), listening to soothing music, doing an activity like a jigsaw puzzle or just being mindful of nature (breathing in the fresh air from an open window or observing the plants, trees, birds and insects outside or in your garden).
- Routine – One way to reduce the stress is to create a routine for your new normal. It may be helpful to continue personal grooming, showering, getting dressed in nice clothing, sticking to working hours, having set breaks and going to bed at a reasonable hour. These practices give us structure and routine in our day and reduce stress.
Bonus tip: Supercharge your mental health by doing an activity which combines movement, connection and self-care. For example: Every second day in the morning (routine) video call your friend or family member (connection) while stretching (movement)!
The importance of MINDFULNESS
With constant exposure to news and online conversations it is important to keep perspective. You should:
- Limit your exposure to the ‘news’, including social media pages. Repetitive input of the serious effects of COVID-19 or other news can very easily bring our mood down.
- Consider limiting your viewing to the evening news or listening to ABC News health updates so that you are staying up to date with the facts, and your responsibilities as a citizen, without becoming saturated with some of the negative content. This will support your mental health.
- Remember that although we don’t know how long this is going to go for, ‘This, too, shall pass’ (Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, (2005). Focus on the fact that this is temporary, and try to notice your thoughts and guide them to the ‘precious present’ – meaning the focus is on today.
The importance of SEEKING HELP
Mindfulness is “the awareness that emerges through having attention to our purpose, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” It helps us focus on the moment. Ways to do this include:
- Gratitude – research indicates that taking time to write down events or situations we are grateful or thankful for can reduce stress and symptoms of depression. So keeping a gratitude diary about things in our lives we are thankful for can help support our mental health and wellbeing. Writing in the diary daily and recording just three things we are thankful for doesn’t take a lot of time, and can have a positive impact on our outlook and in turn a positive effect on our emotions.
- Meditation - being still and focusing on breathing can help reduce the feeling of stress and anxiety. The internet has several free clips and articles on how to learn to meditate.
- Awareness - notice your thoughts and when you see a pattern of negativity creeping in, engage in meditation, gratitude or physical movement to bring you back to the present moment. It is important to learn how to let go of thoughts about what we cannot control, and instead choose to focus on parts of lives we do have control and choice about.
If you are feeling low in your mood, and you can’t shake it off after several days in a row, please seek help.
We deliver support for people across Western Australia and tailor our services to your needs, to support you through times of challenge and change.
If you need immediate support contact:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Suicide Line on 1300 651 251
- Mensline on 1300 78 99 78
- Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800