Welcome home. We love that you’re joining the team of five million… or should that be 5,000,001 now?
You might be feeling a bit all over the place. You’ve likely gone through a lot of change and had a long journey to get here. We bet you can’t wait to get home – wherever that may be.
While you’re in quarantine, it’s important you look after yourself. To help you get through in the best possible way, we've come up with a few simple tips, based on the latest wellbeing science.
Kia kaha – and thanks for doing your bit. We can’t wait to see you out on the streets very soon!
This is about bringing our focus back to the present moment. Sometimes our minds wander unhelpfully to stress or worry and get trapped into negative patterns of thought. Mindfulness helps - focusing on our breath can help quieten a racing mind. If you’re able to, breathe in fresh air whenever you can, take the time to appreciate your loved ones and thank them for how they make you feel, do a mindfulness exercise - check out these ones here. Practicing gratitude helps us refocus on what’s important right now, so try writing down what you’re grateful for, and what you are looking forward to.
Connecting with others is so important for our wellbeing and helps to make us feel safer, less stressed and less anxious. Keep in touch with your friends and whānau on the phone, through social media, video chats and text.
Try to see this time as a chance to rest. Find ways to switch off and recharge. Reading, mindfulness, deep breathing and meditation are all great ways to unwind. We know being in quarantine is difficult, but how often do you get the opportunity to let yourself do nothing and simply be?
We know this is a tricky one right now, but try your best to do what you can with the exercise options made available to you. Regular movement helps release tension and stress and gives us an energy boost. You could even do a yoga workout in your room via Youtube, or ten minutes of simple stretching. There’s a scientifically proven simple workout that only takes 7 minutes, and all you need is a chair!
Learning new things helps to focus your mind and gives you a sense of purpose. You could use this time to learn something you’ve always wanted to know about, but never had the time. Research your whakapapa or family tree. Watch documentaries on topics you’re interested in. Look up the history and stories of different cultures. Download an app like Duolingo and start learning a new language. Puzzles and games activate the learning parts of our brain and help us to experience states of flow, or being ‘in the zone’, which can also make us feel relaxed and calm - try Sudoku online.
Routines sound dull, but they’re good for our mental health. Having a daily routine will help you get through each day and adjust to regular life when it goes back to normal. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time, eat at regular times, shower, change your clothes and see how you can regularly incorporate the rest of our wellbeing tips into each day.
If we’re checking for updates too often, it can escalate our anxiety and increase our exposure to misinformation. Pick one source you trust and check it once or twice a day. If you want to keep checking in with news coverage, take notice of how it makes you feel, set time limits, and stick to the facts.
It feels good to give, and everybody has something to offer - big or small. Give thanks to hotel staff / security / whānau / friends who might be helping you right now. Maybe you’ll be staying with family soon, or you might be thankful for their messages of support? Let them know you appreciate them! You can also give your time by listening and touching base with the people in your life that you care about via video chat, email or messenger.
For simple tips and activities on how to support kids through challenging times (as well as ideas for helping them feel good, find calm and be kind) check out Sparklers at Home.
Life’s a bit of a rollercoaster right now, and it’s completely normal to be feeling a range of emotions about it all. It’s okay if you’re taking things day by day.
If you’ve noticed you’re really not feeling yourself, there is help available. You can free call or text 1737 any time, 24 hours a day. You can also call Lifeline on 0800 543354, the Anxiety Helpline on 0800 269 4389, or text HELP to 4357.
For further tips on how to stay mentally well at the moment, head to the Mental Health Foundation’s website: https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/
There are times when we just might need an extra bit of help. If you or someone you know is struggling, there is free help available through a variety of online tools and helplines. View Article.