Ovens & Murray Advertiser - North East Regional Extra

Stress and winter time

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MAYBE nothing has changed for you since COVID became a part of our vocabulary.

Maybe everything has changed for you.

Maybe you feel like the world just put the “closed” sign on their door, and accidental­ly left it there for a year or so.

A pandemic by definition impacts the whole world in one way or another, so we are all feeling the impacts of COVID.

You might be a helper; going to work, saving lives, rolling up your sleeves to do your bit to help the world re-open again.

Your call to arms might be to stay home, stay distanced, check-in, sanitise, and air-hug your way to our collective safety.

You might be among the now-idolised team of teachers, writers, technician­s, and marshals who are working tirelessly to allow us to work, socialise, study, and connect from the safety of our homes.

Whoever you are, we all play an important role our collective safety, health, and well-being.

Though we’re still working to bring COVID under control, it might feel like it’s been a lifetime since we could roam, socialise and hug freely, and since hand sanitiser was optional.

If you are finding that anniversar­ies or timelines are hard for you, if you’re dreading the news, the daily figures, or wishing another friend happy birthday via text message instead of your usual afternoon at the pub, there are a few things you can do.

Remember that this too shall pass: we’ve made an immense amount of progress since COVID first entered our lives, from the ways we relay informatio­n, contact tracing efforts, testing and quarantine processes, exemptions, borders re-opening, immunisati­ons, and travel bubbles. Lockdowns are now measured in days, not months.

Gatherings are small, but the time we spend with those we love is even more precious.

It will get better.

Allow yourself to grieve what used to be: the sense of loss of what was, what was supposed to be, and what the future might have held can be immeasurab­le, but allowing yourself the time and space to process these changes can be beneficial to your overall wellbeing.

Think, breathe, journal, cry, do whatever it is your mind and body need for the grieving process.

Make a new routine: continue those Whine and Wine Wednesday Zoom catch-ups, early morning online yoga sessions, family board game nights, or learning Spanish through DuoLingo.

Routines help us feel safe in a world that can still be unpredicta­ble.

Connect in whatever way you can: video chat with the people next door or the people on the other side of the world, bake some cookies for your neighbour and do a no-contact surprise delivery, find a pen pal or a long-lost relative and share stories that unite and inspire, send flowers just because.

Connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives.

Create joy: sit in the sunshine, paint your feelings, blow bubbles, eat cake for breakfast, find your purpose, yell a compliment to a stranger on the other side of the street.

Whatever brings you joy, try to do more of that.

Share: If you have the capacity, do something to create joy for someone - or something - else. Plant a tree, make a donation to a charity, bake a cake for the fire brigade members.

Helping others relieves our burden, enhances our sense of community and connectedn­ess, and makes other people smile.

Look after yourselves and each other - we’ll get through this, together.

Further informatio­n can be found at www.headspace.org.au, www.headtoheal­th.gov.au, www.au.reachout. com, www.beyondblue.org.au, and by following headspace Albury Wodonga on facebook @headspacea­lburywodon­ga and Instagram, @ headspace_alburywodo­nga, and headspace Wangaratta on facebook @headspacew­angaratta.

 ?? With Georgia Vujic YOUTH COUNSELLOR, HEADSPACE ALBURY WODONGA ?? STUCK INSIDE: Winter can be a difficult time but headspace has tips to help combat the feelings.
With Georgia Vujic YOUTH COUNSELLOR, HEADSPACE ALBURY WODONGA STUCK INSIDE: Winter can be a difficult time but headspace has tips to help combat the feelings.

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