Although each state and territory are different, the easing of COVID-19 restrictions are getting closer, if not already here. While many of us are excited to commence getting back to the way things used to be, this time also presents an opportunity for us to bring focus and reassessment to our lives and goals.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we have had an enforced ‘reset’. Lots of people have described it as a new way of life, meaning we may have taken a break from some of our long-standing habits. Habits such as going to the pub after work for a drink, buying take away when stressed, only catching up with our friends over a beer or glass of wine, or putting off catching up with our friends altogether. With the easing of the restrictions in sight, it is a great time to use this time to ‘reset’, refresh our direction and goals in life and take stock of the things that have changed.
There are some predictable areas of life that have been affected by isolation and COVID-19 restrictions. Review the list below and identify whether any of the below apply to you.
Socializing and relationships
Were there certain people you missed over this time? Did you feel lonely and figure out you do not have enough close friends? Was there a relief from not having to talk to some friends or less pressure to do things that you do not enjoy?
Was it harder to exercise? Did you miss training a certain way or did you find a new exercise that you never thought you would? For example, did you discover the joy of running or bike riding? Did you cut out eating unhealthy foods? Did you start a diet or cook more at home?
Did you start to practice mindfulness or use different coping strategies? Did you find that you need more help at this time than you predicted? Did you get less stressed or more stressed?
Interest and goals
Did your goals start to change? Did you spend more time with the children or start a new hobby? Did you watch too much TV or Netflix during isolation?
As the restrictions lift it is a good time to start to build new habits, let go of old ones and develop a new perspective. Here are some tips to help you:
Figure out what is important to you.
Check in with what you want your life to be like? What are the things you have missed the most during this time and the things that you have not missed as much as you thought you would? This is often an indicator that this is important to us. If we missed seeing our friends, it’s time to start reaching out.
Start to notice any unhelpful or unhealthy habits you have developed.
Through this time of stress, we might have developed some unhealthy habits and it’s important to recognise these. As the restriction lift, set some goals to change unhealthy habits and get back to the helpful strategies you were using before.
Focus on the healthy and helpful habits.
If you have started a healthy or helpful habit, find a way to keep it going. Maybe it will be an easy time to make changes to the old habits that were not healthy. Since you have been running for the last few weeks, why not keep it going? Or since you have not been to the pub for several weeks after work, maybe don’t start it up again. Did you start to call a friend instead of texting? Keep reaching out to them.
As always, start small. Do not put too much pressure on yourself to live a totally new way. You could just focus on one area – the one that means the most to you. You might want to make a video, note or voice recording to yourself to help motivate you to keep at it and to remind yourself why this change was important as life returns to normal.
As restrictions lift, keep safe and reach out to Mates4Mates if you want support or information.
Written by Georgia Ash, Mates4Mates Psychology Services Manager