The COVID-19 pandemic was accompanied by an increase in poor mental health for many New Zealanders due to the ways it impacted how we interact with others, work, study, and multiple aspects of our lives. As the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel grows stronger, and as we step away from the reality of strict lockdowns and hygiene regimes, it really isn’t as easy for some of us to adjust “back to normal” as we would have hoped.
After what so many of us have been through – death, grief, isolation, stress, anxiety, unemployment – it’s fair to say that we are going to have some reservations when it comes to transitioning back to a less cautious way of navigating the world. We’re here to offer some friendly tips and reminders that might help get you back on track.
1. Connect with Others
Sometimes easier said than done - but it’s time to drop the habit of self-isolation, and start getting out and about again!
Our ability to physically connect with others was undoubtedly one of the things that COVID-19 damaged the most, and it’s been hard to adjust as we have become able to visit friends and family again. Even if it feels a little awkward, don’t hesitate to text someone you haven’t seen in a while and invite them out to dinner. There’s no need to tread on eggshells, we all need human connection just as much as each other! Platonically get back out there!
2. Be Compassionate with yourself (and others)
Even with the COVID-19 situation improving, there is still so much that we can’t control right now. We can however control how we talk to ourselves and others. It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed right now – but don’t fall for the negative self-talk that often comes with these emotions. Make space for the emotions you’re feeling - but try not to let them hold you back as you adjust to your new normal.
3. Reach Out For Help When You Need It
EASIER SAID THAN DONE. We can all relate to how intimidating it is to let people around you know when you’re struggling, but it’s an essential step to take towards bettering your mental health. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed or distressed, text a trusted family member or friend and let them know how you’re feeling and what you might need from them – whether that be advice, a helping hand, or even just to be aware that you’re struggling. Having the ability to reach out to your contacts like this not only helps you feel less alone, but also facilitates an environment where other people feel comfortable reaching out for help.
4. Know Your Limits
The prospect of things going “back to normal” can be an overwhelming one, but remember not to put pressure on yourself to bounce back immediately following the disaster that has been COVID-19. It is TOTALLY okay to press pause and take a step back to focus on the here and now if the future becomes too much to think about.
Just take things one day at a time, it is okay to press pause if you need to.
Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to talk to a trained counsellor.
To talk to a trained counsellor 24/7 call the Depression helpline – 0800 111 757.
To get help from a registered nurse 24/7 call Healthline – 0800 611 116.