Looking After You in 2021

February 18, 2021         Leave a comment  

                    #hope #mentalhealthandwellbeing #buildingresilience #youdoyou #fillingupyourcup 

As we reflect on 2020, there’s no denying that the Coronavirus global pandemic has had a massive impact on the lives of Australians. We know that people here and across the globe showed up in tough times and proved how resilient they could be. While we’re starting to bounce back and navigate some of the ongoing changes and struggles, we hope that you can continue to move forward and have hope for 2021.

Acknowledging that we made it through and adapted to a new way of living last year can be a great way to feed our minds with the positivity it needs to get us through what lies ahead. Take a moment now to reflect upon what you what you got through, what you accomplished, and what you learnt in 2020. Just remember, we can move forward one day at a time, with our resilience. 

The art of practicing ‘resilience’ is a part of moving forward and learning to cope with adversity, challenges and even change. It is defined as “the capacity to recover from difficulties”.  We’ve outlined 8 ways to help you build resilience, and look after yourself in 2021!

1. Empty your Worry Bucket!

While it’s important to remain cautious and always practice safety first, we know that too much worry isn’t good for us. Imagine you have a bucket which represents your capacity to cope with life’s ups and downs. What we tend to do is collect our worries, so the bucket fills up, and leads to us feeling stressed and overwhelmed. With an overflowing bucket, you can poke holes in the bucket to remove what is inside it.

You can remove the worries in the bucket by writing down the things that are worrying you. Once you have finished, go through each one and write down steps that will help the situation and put a tick next to it. It could be an assignment you’re worried about, and the step could be talking to your teacher about it to get support. Although we can’t get rid of all our problems, by having an action step you will do next to a worry, your bucket can feel lighter so it doesn’t overflow.

You can also make your worry bucket lighter through other ways, such as talking to someone about it who will help you, doing exercise, or meditation.

2. Understand Fear and Anxiety

Did you know that fear and anxiety are emotions that have been with humankind from the beginning? Humans relied on fear and anxiety back in prehistoric days which protected them from danger. Fear and anxiety can be healthy and is important in the right context. According to modern psychology, the three major responses to fear and anxiety are ‘fight, flight or freeze’. Humans engage in 1 of these 3 responses – sometimes all 3!

Everyone feels anxious at times and a certain level of anxiety is completely normal. Despite the current concerns being different from prehistoric days, our minds still can’t tell the difference between being chased by a tiger or having to write an important exam – creating the same fear and anxiety as our ancestors experienced.

Here is a simple technique called the 5,4,3,2,1 strategy you can try to reduce fear and anxiety if there is no danger present. Start by catching your breath and if you can place your feet on the ground and follow the steps below:

5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. …

4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. …

3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. …

2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. …

1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste…

You can also try mediation, yoga, exercise or something else calming that works for you. Remember that if fear and anxiety are getting all too much it may be helpful to reach out to a professional who can help.

3. Reach out for a Chat

While it can be helpful to reach out to friends and family, just remember there is professional help available from people who are trained to understand emotions and why they can have such a huge toll on our behaviour, mood and relationships. It takes courage to ask for help and there is no shame in putting your hand up to let people know you are struggling or want to feel better than you do now. Being resilient doesn’t mean we have to push through negative emotions or serious problems on our own. Practicing ‘resilience’ and looking after you even when the storm hits, can be the simple act of reaching out.  An option is to talk to your doctor about your mental health and wellbeing, and they can help you find someone suitable to connect with.

You can also connect with Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) and Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) for free phone and online counselling 24hrs a day. Did you know that Kids helpline support young people up to the age of 25? You can connect with a counsellor via web chat or phone.  Alternatively, if you live in the South East Sydney, St George region and surrounds, and would like to talk to a Youth Worker or Counsellor and chat about keeping motivated and staying hopeful, give us a call on (02) 9556 1769, or check out all of the youth services we offer.

4. Detox your Mind from Digital Devices

It is important to listen to health guidelines to keep yourself safe, but try not to consume too much negative content and focus on the positive. With daily updates and global news flooding our screens it can really impact our mindset. The goal here is to ‘keep it real’, not to flood your mind with excessive amounts of media and news surrounding the Coronavirus or other negative news. Taking a much-needed digital detox from news and social media can do wonders for the mind.  Switch off completely from news for a part of the day.

If you decide to take a ‘digi’ detox, fill your time instead with activities that help your headspace. Things like: listing to music, watching something funny, being outdoors, exercise, sport and meditation. You can even dance and give yourself permission to have some fun!

5. Set Realistic Goals

As we enter this year with new situations coming at us, it’s time to set goals that can help get us through the year and stay motivated. When goal setting, please don’t compare yourself to others; just do your best with the resources you have available.  Try it right now – get a pen and paper and write down some achievable, realistic goals you want to fulfil this year. It could be studying more, being more active, eating healthy, being organised, volunteering, applying for jobs… anything that makes you feel connected to the person you really want to be. Remember to be kind to yourself; it’s okay if we don’t reach 100% of our goals. Ensure you make time for rest and play and give yourself a break when you need it.

6. Make Time for Light and Joy

Do something positive that makes you smile and feel light and joy.  It might be spending time at the beach or in nature, drawing, running or funny videos. Bringing joy to others can also really help our mood and wellbeing. Even if it’s a small activity- do that and keep doing it! These habits will help us stay motivated and keep our headspace positive. You can try give the Smile Challenge a go! The smile challenge is a great strategy to use when you feel sad, disappointed, or even frustrated. To do the smile challenge you just need to try to make someone else smile or laugh! You could tell them a funny joke, a story, you could give them a compliment or even share something you like about them (who doesn’t smile when getting a compliment?!?)

7. Find a Healthy Passion in this New World

Finding something we are passionate about can help us stay on track with who we are, the way we want to live our lives, and with looking after ourselves. Whether it’s a hobby, studies, a job, an activity or group, doing something with a healthy passion can really make a positive difference to us (and also to the world around us).  We encourage you to develop your own values about the life you want to live. There are also lots of ways to use your passion to impact positively around you, for example, joining a group to save the environment or helping others with something you are good at.

Talk to your family and friends, or a professional such as those listed above, about what you are passionate about. Once you’ve done that, figure out what you need to do to fill this space of passion and values and try to move closer those actions and behaviours. 

8. Create a Self-Care Plan

The final and most important step is to create a self-care plan; and remember everyone’s self-care will look different. One-person’s self-care could be running while going for a run could be another’s worst nightmare! Self-care is a personal thing and a way of looking after yourself after a hard day or just maintenance to keep a healthy mind. Write down the things that you like doing that leave you feeling happy, relaxed, light, positive, fulfilled. Make sure the list has “healthy” actions on there because we know there are things that can make us feel good at the time but in fact may not actually be that good for us. Keep your self-care list where you can see it, so you can be reminded every day to look after yourself. Build it into your daily schedule or routine of self-care.   

A Message from the Team at 2Connect

We get that the world may feel upside down at times, and that is a huge feeling to be weighing on your shoulders. So please make the time to empty your worry bucket and fill your tank when you can, look after yourself, keep going, reach out for help, keep it real and keep moving through this!

At 2Connect we’ve got your back and we care about helping you stay on track. If you are a young person aged 12-25 in the South East Sydney region, we can organise a talk with a Youth Worker or Counsellor and chat about looking after yourself, setting goals, keeping motivated, finding your passion and staying hopeful- Give us a call on 9556 1769.  We love connecting with young people and hearing your amazing voices and stories. For young people in other areas, you can contact Kidshelpline on 1800551800 for support and to find a service in your area. For other ages, please call BeyondBlue 1300 22 4636

You’re important and we wish you all the best in looking after you this year. Stay safe friends!