Have you been feeling like you’re an hour into a long-haul flight and have just hit severe turbulence that’s set to last indefinitely? Are you tired but can’t sleep, and unsure what the heck you can do about it? You are not alone in these never ending strange days.
The last 18 months and counting have certainly been a ride like no other for everyone in the travel industry.
Sadly, it still seems that the moment we take a collective step forward, we are forced to take two steps back.
Pandemic fatigue is a real thing, and chances are, you’re feeling it.
National Mental Health Commission chief executive Christine Morgan said 2021 was not the “fresh start” people had expected after the challenges of 2020.
“We found the courage to support ourselves, our loved ones and our communities through many hardships last year, but it’s a bit different this time as many of us are running close to empty emotionally and mentally,” Ms Morgan said.
“It’s absolutely understandable that many Australians are experiencing pandemic fatigue at this time, but it’s important to realise that we can overcome it.”
So what exactly is pandemic fatigue?
Pandemic fatigue can manifest differently in each person. Still, the most common warning signs include irritability, anxiety, low energy, restlessness, feelings of hopelessness and dread or feeling like you don’t have anything to look forward to.
Ms Morgan urged people to watch out for withdrawal from others, difficulty sleeping, lack of motivation, and increased use of alcohol or other substances.
It’s not sounding great. But trust us, you have the power within you to transmute these symptoms into something that serves you for the better.
So, how exactly can you do that?
According to the experts, these 5 simple strategies can help you better manage this testing time. It’s likely you may have heard them before, but hey, there’s nothing like a healthy reminder.
1. Move your body
Exercise releases serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins, dopamine, which are the chemicals in your brain that dull pain, lighten your mood and relieve stress.
So opt for a high-intensity workout at your own level to let out any excess anger or energy, or take a walk in the fresh air to get your heart rate going to help clear your mind.
Short on long chunks of time? Even brief bouts of activity offer benefits. For instance, if you can’t fit in one 30-minute walk during the day, try a few five-minute walks instead. Any activity is better than none at all. What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.
If you’re more of a yogi, take some time out on the mat. Stretching has so many benefits, such as increasing circulation, helping posture, and lowering stress levels. Many online or app based video options mean you can practice from anywhere such as Barre Body or Centr.
2. Take regular breaks
Scheduling time throughout your day to nurture yourself and recharge will help you be more productive and focused in the long run.
Breaks can also help ease frustration and increase cognitive functioning.
Stand up and get away from the screen(s), maybe call a friend, read a book or magazine, complete a small task at home or simply stop and do nothing. It’ll be worth it.
3. Reach out to others
Connection, compassion, and communication are essential now, even more than ever.
If you are having a tough time, you don’t need to put on a brave face or suffer alone. There is always help out there, whether through friends, family, colleagues, or professional services.
The nation’s mental health commission’s chair Lucy Brogden said: “Never underestimate your ability to have a positive impact on someone’s life. Others might see you prioritising your mental health and decide to do the same for themselves.”
Who in your life could do with a call do you think?
If you haven’t joined our Facebook ‘Together In Travel’ closed group yet, please do! We’ve been running the group now since the pandemic began which has since provided a support hub for 7000 travel industry members to share ideas, challenges and inspiration.
4. Watch what you consume
You might feel as if you’re drowning in bad news, which could be coming at you from every angle. So, take note of how the news and social media impacts you.
Everything you consume affects your physical and mental health, so turning off the TV/laptop/phone/radio could be the key to the self-care you need the most. Especially at least an hour before bed or first thing in the morning.
You don’t have to take the weight of the world on your shoulders.
5. Focus on the things that bring you joy
Doing something you enjoy every day, no matter how small it might seem, could be the pick-me-up you need.
“It’s not only okay to take time out to do something that brings you pleasure, but it’s also a really important way to help us rebalance and re-energise,” Lucy Brogden said.
This could range from treating yourself to a mindful cup of tea to spending time with your pet, playing with your child, reading a book, chatting with a friend, drawing something or dancing around the kitchen to your favourite song.
It doesn’t have to be a big thing, just something that reconnects you to the things that make life a little more beautiful.
Even the smallest steps forward are leading you in the right direction. You’ve got this.
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