For the first time in many months, no Australian city is in lockdown.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and particularly during the various lockdowns, Australian recorded a decline in their mental health. Financial stress from lost employment, isolation and staying away from loved ones, and the general uncertainty of what the pandemic meant for our lives was felt by many.
Studies have also suggested that the impact of the pandemic magnified mental health inequalities. People living with a complex mental health issue, for example, had a higher fear of catching the virus and found isolation challenging. Importantly, that same study also recorded high levels of resilience in our community, as people deployed their skills to manage their mental health to cope during the pandemic.
Adjusting to life post lockdown, particularly for people in NSW, Victoria and the ACT, may also require those same resilience skills.
While it is exciting to be able to catch up with people, visit friends at home, return to the workplace, or spend more time at the shops, it can also feel overwhelming. Perhaps you discovered a good daily routine during the lockdown, and you're not sure you're ready to add in more elements?
Remember - you can take your time. There's no rush to immediately return to "normal" so introduce things at your own pace. Practising mindfulness techniques, like focusing on your breath, visualising calm scenes, and exercising gratitude can help you overcome initial jitters as you return to the workplace, cafes, public transport, and shops.
Be mindful of your feelings, and check in - if you think you might be avoiding particular situations ask yourself why? Unlike exiting previous lockdowns, COVID-19 does remain in our community. While vaccinations do protect us from the worst impacts of the virus, it can still be transmitted. This does make the end of these lockdowns feel a bit different, but as well as being vaccinated, you can still continue to wear a mask, regularly wash your hands, and stay home and get tested if you feel unwell to add another layer of protection against the virus.
If you haven't had your vaccination yet please speak to a trusted health official about your concerns. If you were fully vaccinated six months ago you may also soon be eligible for a booster shot, to make sure your immunity remains high.
Finally remember, just because lockdown is over doesn't mean you have to stop enjoying all your lockdown habits. Perhaps you discovered a morning walk, a new love of cooking, or a crafty hobby during lockdown - they can all stay, and now you can share them with those around you!
Flourish Australia is also returning to group activities, in line with state restrictions. We are excited to welcome people back but we’ll also continue with virtual methods too - so please get in touch with us to find out more.
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