Millions of Australians are feeling the impact of extended lockdowns right now. Melbourne has clocked more than 200 days in lockdown and Sydney is experiencing weeks of lockdown with high case numbers of COVID-19. Restrictions like these lockdowns test our mental and emotional agility, and can affect our wellbeing and relationships. To help, we've summarised our top 10 mood lifters for when you're feeling flat. Each tip includes links to other resources and blog posts we’ve created for further learning.
1. Turn up the music! Music (especially upbeat tunes) can lift and help us regulate our emotions. It can also trigger good memories, motivate us to move and influence time perception too. Dance breaks can be great fun for young and old!
2. Shift your focus towards the now. Naturally, when things are feeling uncertain or out of control, we can enter a state of longing for change and anticipation of the future. This can mean we miss out on what's happening in the present moment, and overlook the things we can control and be mindful about today. Being aware of our emotions and managing them intelligently can help to fight feelings of fatigue.
3. Move more and get your heart rate up! Cardio and strength-based exercises are not only good for our body, they're also good for our mind. Get Active Victoria has some free online activities like Bollywood dancing, yoga, burpee challenges and games to do around home, and Fitness Australia has some tips for keeping active too. Even one minute bursts of physical activity can help lift the mood.
4. Create a good sleep routine. Even when we're at home every day, our regular routines can fall out of sync. Try to create a routine of a consistent bedtime and waking-time. A healthy sleep routine is one thing that might help you boost energy levels and avoid burnout. When you sleep well for seven to nine hours a night, you'll be more likely to feel energised and productive during the day.
5. Manage your virtual meetings. Constant screen time can lead to 'zoom-doom'. Schedule shorter meetings where possible, or start five minutes after the hour, to reduce the amount of screen time and allow for breaks for people in back-to-back virtual meetings. Schedule un-bookable blocks of time in the calendar.
6. Create little rituals to set boundaries between work and play. Perhaps it's taking a morning walk before starting work, closing the computer and tidying your desk at the end of the day. Find what works for you. These rituals prime our brain to know when it’s ‘work time’ and ‘recovery time’.
7. Express kindness to a friend or a stranger. This might be as simple as a text message, a written gratitude letter, a random act of kindness, or a small gift you can make or order that you know they'll enjoy. The mutual positive emotions will last longer than the expression of kindness itself.
8. Schedule self-care time in your diary. Book it in the calendar and protect the time. This could be 30 minutes or an hour to do something just for you - meditation, exercise, making and eating a delicious meal, reading a book on the couch… Find a time and stick to it! These self-care strategies may help to refuel your resilience.
9. Express yourself! If you have people in your household, talk to them about your feelings and theirs, or pick up the phone and chat to a friend. Talk to your boss or team members about the behaviours and boundaries that will support wellbeing at work. You may also benefit from setting intentions. It could help you feel a sense of relief and support.
10. Experience the power of silence. Silence can create space for mind wandering, creative thinking and help to calm your mood if you're feeling heightened anxiety or stress levels. Take a break from modern noise pollution by turning off screens and digital notifications. One good way to do this is to take a walk outdoors without putting earphones in. Find it difficult to ‘be in the silence?’ You may need this strategy more than you realise.
Please be aware that wellbeing is individual, and what works well for some people doesn't always work well for others. This simple list offers our top ten mood lifters, but we have plenty more science-based tools, training, ideas and resources available. If you need support or would like to find out more about our workplace wellbeing programs, please do get in touch.
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