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Managing stress in a stressful time

By  AAMI

Let’s be honest, things have been less than ideal recently. Self-isolation, social distancing and general uncertainty may have left you or someone close to you with increased feelings of stress or anxiety. Combined with job stresses, economic impacts and home-schooling pressures — life can be challenging to say the least.

But you’re not alone.

There are many resources you can turn to for help, advice and guidance on how to cope better, and navigate this very stressful time.

Stay in touch

Physically distancing ourselves from others doesn’t mean fully disconnecting from the world. Try to stay in touch with friends and family, perhaps online, or by calling someone to ask if they’re okay. It’s amazing how much better you can feel after a good chat.

Coping with isolation together

We’re all in isolation, but some of us are isolated with others. Being around the same people 24/7 may cause tension. There are a few things you can do to create a positive environment for you and those you’re isolated with:

  • Create a roster for doing chores, to keep things fair.
  • Take part in things you like doing together, such as watching movies, playing board games, or even walking the dog
  • Share positive emotions and experiences and try not to bottle up your concerns.
  • Respect each other’s emotional wellbeing. If conflict arises, try simply walking away and picking up the discussion later, in a calmer and more understanding manner
  • Smile a little more. You’d be surprised how smiling can affect your mood, and the mood of those around you.

A little structure goes a long way

While binge watching entire seasons of TV might’ve been attractive to start with, planning out your days might help restore a little normality. Scheduling tasks and activities that you enjoy can help you stick to a routine. Things like maintaining set mealtimes and bedtimes ensures you’re eating regularly and getting a good night’s sleep. Working from home is new to a lot of us and brings a fresh set of challenges where structure can really help. Here are a few tips to help you plan your day a little better:

  • While staying in your PJ’s all day feels comfy, it’s not ideal for a productive day’s work. Get out of your jimmy-jams and into the right headspace for the working day
  • Choose a dedicated workspace that’s comfortable, free from distractions, and has everything you’ll need to get your job done.
  • Work is great, but so is playtime, so make time in your schedule for both. Your mind will be better and you’ll be more productive if you create boundaries that balance work and leisure.
  • While your usual exercise routine might not be possible at the moment, staying active is important for your wellbeing. You could use your usual commute time to go for a walk, run or cycle. Or why not dance around the house with the kids?
  • Simply say hello and keep up your professional contact with managers and colleagues to ensure you’re all working towards common goals and timelines.

Seeking help

If self-isolation is getting too much, a psychologist may be able to help you manage your stress and anxiety. See your GP first and if you’re referred to a psychologist, you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate.

There are also several organisations who are on hand to help Aussies in need of mental health support. No matter how big or small you might think your issues are, it’s important to reach out and seek help and guidance:

Remember, if you’re unable to work due to mental health, AAMI includes mental health conditions as part of their income protection inclusions. Don’t hesitate to get in touch or visit the Income Protection page to find out more.

Please take care of yourself and those closest to you. We’re all in this together.

The health and medical information is general information only and is not a substitute for advice from a qualified medical or other health professional. Always consult your general practitioner or a medical specialist

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