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Tip #5 – How to balance your energy and be vital in ISO

If you’re in Melbourne navigating level 4 restrictions, chances are you feel like you’re acting out a scene from the movie, ‘Groundhog Day’. I must say, I’m feeling happy for (and simultaneously envious of) my sun-soaked ‘post-apocalyptic’ friends living it up abroad on beaches. Meanwhile, here in Victoria, things are starting to look up with a downward trend in new Covid-19 cases and first signs of Spring emerging.

I’ve had several conversations recently about the challenges of balancing one’s energy and staying vital and motivated in Iso. As I’ve written previously, people describe an overwhelming sense of obligation or pressure to work harder, get everything done, and do-do-do, whilst adjusting to an abnormal routine and way of living...

Feelings of laziness if we ‘rest’;

Feelings of guilt for resting;

Feelings of being unworthy of rest, i.e. “I haven’t earned / don’t deserve this break”.

Research shows fatigue can be caused by previously perceived stress and anxiety, like anticipating the worst based on prior negative feelings. All things considered, the sheer monotony of Covid-19 lockdown is enough to zap people’s energy and motivation.

So how do we restore our energy?

Let’s explore a few natural ways to reclaim vitality:

1. REST

When you’ve had an unproductive day or if you’re feeling stuck in a negative mental state, schedule time to rest and allow your body to recoup without feeling guilty or that you can only rest as a reward for doing something proactive, such as exercise.

2. SOAK UP THOSE RAYS

The Earth’s sun is a natural source of Vitamin D, which supports healthy immune system function and can help regulate insulin, improve energy levels, and enhance mood. Thankfully, Spring is almost upon us, which means sunnier, warmer days. For an instant ‘lift’ go outside for an hour and if possible, consider working outside.

3. JOURNALING

During the initial stages of lockdown, we all need time to adjust. So, it’s completely normal to feel ‘out of sorts’ (sad, angry, tearful, unmotivated). Be kind to yourself and remember this too shall pass. Writing a reflective journal is a helpful way to process feelings and adjust or transition to a new environment. It doesn’t have to be ‘War and Peace’ but simple notes about any thoughts and feelings, then review and track progress to see how you’re adjusting.

4. STRUCTURE

Structure allows us to gain control over our lives. In essence, it helps prevent build-up of “empty” time that can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and confinement, and a growing sense of “drift”. Without structure days bleed into weeks and months and we become withdrawn and apathetic, sleep badly and can neglect personal hygiene. Even basic routine is helpful.

5. PRACTICE ‘PRESENCE’

Anticipating when this pandemic will end is all part of the experience, especially when the future is so uncertain. However, constant worry induces anxiety and when prolonged, can lead to serious physical and mental health problems. Worrying won’t change the future. Hence, it is so important to stop focusing on things we cannot control and stay in the present moment. It can be as simple as taking a deep breath and saying, “today is today, I will not worry about tomorrow”.

Until next time...

Stephen


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