Five tips for self-care coming out of lockdown

19 October 2021

Mental health has become one of the most important conversations to have in workplaces over the past two years. The widespread impacts of COVID-19 have moved beyond the health epidemic it began as, with the ongoing consequences morphing into a financial, educational, and mental health crisis that will be felt for years to come as the world moves into recovery mode from the effects of the pandemic.

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National Mental Health Month, an initiative of the Mental Health Foundation Australia, brings together the Australian community to raise awareness and promote better mental health for all. This year’s theme, ‘Mental Health: Post Pandemic Recovery Challenges and Resilience', recognises that every industry has faced, and will continue to face unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Victorian Chamber has a wide range of resources for businesses to support their employees into the COVID-19 recovery as we learn how to live under COVID-Normal conditions. For many, the idea of reverting to life as it was pre-COVID can be an overwhelming thought and create feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. The Victorian Chamber has developed five tips for individuals to encourage and sustain positive mental health as we move into this new COVID-Normal space and begin venturing out of lockdown.

Say yes to saying no

Don’t feel obligated to accept every social invitation you receive. Pick and choose which activities you want to be part of and are comfortable with. You don’t need to provide reasons as to why you choose to decline some invites. Everyone’s social stamina differs and will have changed throughout lockdown. Some people may be able to do multiple activities each week, and others will need a lengthy period of recovery after each one. You are allowed to take as much time as you need, and you don’t owe it to anyone to force yourself into situations you may find daunting. Just because you can see everyone again, doesn’t mean you have to.

Don’t compare

You may have gained weight over lockdown; you might not have mastered the art of baking your own sourdough; you never got around to cleaning out that pesky junk drawer. It’s okay! You don’t have to come out of lockdown with a full list of achievements – surviving is enough. There are some people who will have used the lockdown to tick things off their lists, get fitter, or embark on a new hobby, and while that’s amazing for them, it doesn’t make you any less of person if you didn’t. There is no shame in admitting that or keeping it to yourself.

Switch off

Technology has never been more prevalent – it has enabled us to work from home, to stay connected with loved ones, and provided an escape from the monotonies of lockdown. But it can also be difficult to switch off - and many people admit that being available and contactable 24-7 can be draining and have a negative impact on their mental health. Leaving your phone at home to go on a walk, switching from the news to something fun and frivolous, or just powering down the computer every evening enables you to get away from the constant updates and endless news cycle, and reconnect with yourself and others in more meaningful ways.

Follow the advice

We know that eating well, exercising regularly, and maintaining a regular sleep pattern are the number one pieces of health advice, but sometimes these are easier said than done. Taking the time to do these things will only benefit you, and the short and long-term effects are well worth the effort. Even if you cheat a little to get there – buy the prechopped veggies and bagged salads, use your lunch break to catch up on a little bit of shut-eye, and hop in the car and drive somewhere more aesthetically-pleasing to walk around. Getting into a routine with these three aspects will never be regrettable.

Talk, talk, talk

Don’t be afraid to open up to someone, whether it’s to a family member, friend, or professional. Sharing your thoughts, feelings, fears, concerns, and questions is incredibly cathartic and you may find that the people you speak to have feel the same way. If you are after some professional help and don’t know where to begin, speak to your employer’s HR team to find out if there are any programs or resources available through work, or make an appointment with your GP who can make a mental health plan with you and refer you on.

Register FREE for our Business Boost Webinar on mental health

We are proud to launch a new Business Boost Webinar Series aimed at supporting business during lockdown and prepare them for reopening with free, 45-minute webinars featuring subject matter experts.

The mental health of you and your employees has never been more important. Join us on Wednesday 27 October where we will discuss the current state of mental health in Australia with guest speaker Vinay Nair, Victorian Chamber Mental Health Consultant.

This webinar will look at studies on how lockdowns have impacted mental health, the issues a manager is likely to be confronted with as staff gradually return to work, how to spot early warning signs and intervene with a supportive conversation, mental health self-care strategies for both managers and employees, and resources available for businesses.

Attendees will also have the chance to have key questions answered via a live Q&A.

Click here for further information and to register FREE.

Further support

Managing mental health risks in the workplace can be a challenging topic for many businesses. However, the rewards that await any business that has the courage and perseverance to genuinely tackle this subject are well worth the time and investment.

For more information, HSW consulting, training and other support please contact us on 03 8662 5333 or hsw@victorianchamber.com.au to discuss your needs.

Please utilise the following resources where needed:

  • Your doctor
  • Lifeline, call 13 11 14
  • SANE Australia, call 1800 18 SANE (7623)
  • beyondblue, call 1300 22 4636

Living Beyond Lockdown

Help your employees develop self-awareness and a greater sense of control over their mental wellbeing. Book an interactive workshop to assist with life beyond lockdown.