Be Kind to yourself
Tips and resources on how you can look after yourself during this time.
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Being kind to yourself as we reopen
With restrictions changing it’s normal to feel anxious or nervous. Here are some tips to make things easier when catching up with family, friends or even going down to the shops.
Please note: Victoria's restrictions have changed. From 6:00pm on Friday 26 March 2021, Victoria will further ease COVIDSafe restrictions. Find out more on our current restrictions web page.
Expect to be out of practise
Emerging out of lockdown is going to be a big change for everyone, so expect to be a little out of practise. Chatting with family, friends or co-workers might be tough and it could take some time for our social skills to catch up. Don’t be too hard on yourself if conversations aren’t free flowing or perfect straightaway.
Ease back into social settings
There’s no rush to jump straight back into social gatherings. Start small and ease back in to socialising with people outside of your household. It's important to still challenge yourself though. A good way to do this could be to plan out different social interactions every couple of days.
Don’t be too hard on yourself or others
It’s important not to be too hard on yourself or others as restrictions ease. Going back to work or the shops will bring with it new and unusual ways of doing things that could be difficult for everyone.
Remember this before you pass judgment, after all this is new for everyone including you. Consider family or friends that might not be ready for face-to-face meetings yet. Plan for ways to involve them in social gatherings as well.
Dealing with uncertainty
Feeling uncomfortable with uncertainty around restrictions easing is normal. Focus on the positives and good milestones that have recently happened. Avoid dwelling on things in future that you can't change. Using reliable information sources can also be a helpful way to make informed decisions. Remember to talk to someone if you need to. Value your feelings and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Try and keep up the good practices from the last few months. Eat well, maintain good routines and get plenty of rest. You can find more helpful tips on looking after your mental health and physical health below.
- Beyond blue - Managing social anxiety post lockdown
- Relationships Australia - Coping with social anxiety as restrictions ease
Tips on looking after your mental health
It's normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed during a time like this.
Here are some ways you can look after yourself:
- Stay informed - but avoid too much media coverage and social media
- Keep things in perspective - remember that experts around the world are working hard to help
- Take reasonable precautions - see English-speaking coronavirus health advice here and translated health advice here
- Stay connected - reach out to people you trust like friends and family, neighbours and workmates. You can call, email, Facebook, FaceTime, WhatsApp and more. Instead of catching up for a coffee you can use apps such as Zoom or Houseparty to catch up with friends. Looking for someone new to have a chat with? Chat with a volunteer via Friendline
- Make time for activities you enjoy
- Set up daily routines - try to keep regular mealtimes, eat a healthy and balanced diet, make sure you're getting enough sleep, and keep physically active. Need some help to set up a routine? Try using a free daily planner such as this one.
- Practice mindfulness - schedule a few minutes each day for some mindfulness. A simple 5-minute practice may really help. Check out this four step process for mindfulness and other mindfulness and meditation tips.
Tips on looking after your physical health
We know hanging on the couch, or taking a nap are pretty tempting right now. But staying active and doing some exercise each day is great for your health.
If you're new to exercise, or feeling a little lost because your normal way of staying fit isn't possible right now, here are some ideas to get you moving:
- Check out if your local exercise studio is offering online classes or try a class on YouTube. There are endless free exercise videos regardless of your fitness level or the size of your living room. This Girl Can – Victoria ambassador Sana also has some great tips on exercising at home.
- Do your own exercise - try gentle chair exercises, Instead of weights use household items like filled water bottles and cans or jars of food, walk or run on the spot for 30 second intervals, do some star jumps, planks, sit ups, push ups, or even burpees.
- Go solo outside if you can - walking, cycling and running are great solo activities and safe if you’re feeling well and haven’t been asked to self-isolate.
We suggest going early in the morning or late in the day, and avoiding streets and parks with high foot traffic, to minimise your risk. Remember to wear a mask when needed, pack some hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol and stay at least 1.5 metres away from to other people.
Relationships and safety
The coming months will see Australian households and individuals experience higher levels of stress, financial and uncertainty. For many this will impact on personal relationships and some people will be fearful for their safety and may experience violence from a family member or partner.
Everybody has the right to be safe. Please look out for your family, friends and neighbours at this time and contact one of these services if you are concerned about their welfare or safety, or if you are experiencing family violence yourself.
- Triple Zero (if you are in immediate danger)
- Berry Street Family Violence Support
- Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre
- Djirra (support for Koori women)
From 6:00pm on Friday 29 March 2021, face masks will be mandatory:
- on public transport
- in rideshare vehicles and taxis
- in sensitive settings, such as aged care facilities
- in airports and on flights
You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to. You must wear one if you are in an indoor or outdoor setting and you can't physically distance from others.
Things to look out for when buying and using a face mask
- Cloth face masks should have three layers of fabric.
- Face masks with holes, including woven masks and face masks with valves should not be used.
- Face masks should fit snugly and cover your mouth and nose.
- Wash reusable face masks after each use, with soapy water.
- Avoid using a damp or dirty face mask.
- Physical and social distancing is still the best preventative measure against Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Make your own mask
The Department of Human and Health services have created instructions for making a three layer cloth mask. You can use fabric or material you may already have at home.
Local organisations and businesses producing masks
Reynard Street Neighbourhood House are able to provide masks for individuals or community groups that need them.
You can contact the Reynard Street Neighbourhood House by phone at 9386 7128, or email the Neighbourhood House Administrator at email@example.com
- Brunswick Neighbourhood House: A donation towards materials is encouraged. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Second Stitch: Refugee & Asylum Seeker Textile Enterprise
- New Model Beauty Queen
- Louie and The Fox
- The Boroughs
- Present Story
- Retro Bub
Communicating to others when wearing a face mask
Face masks have been great for stopping the spread of coronavirus, but some people rely on lip reading to help with communication, for this reason the government has allowed the lowering of masks when speaking to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. There are also some other helpful tips for everyone, when communicating while wearing your face mask:
- Do not yell, but talk a little louder
- Articulate your words clearly, rather than mumble
- Slow down, don't talk too fast
- Use more body language, including hands, eyes and gestures
- Move to a quiet place if you can
- Write it down or use speech to text apps on your phone such as Live Transcribe (Android) or Ava: Best live captions (ISO) captions.
- Be patient. This is hard for everyone
- Tips for communicating while wearing a mask (PDF 151Kb)
Translation Videos - mask information and how to make a mask
The DHHS has also produced a series of translated videos on the need to wear face masks and on how you can make your own face mask.