It was hard to know how the pandemic situation would develop globally so the decision to remain in Australia may not have been easy.
As time has continued, sustained border closures have kept us separated from family, partners and friends, creating uncertainty and unease about the future. At the same time, life in Adelaide has largely returned to normal. This can leave us feeling conflicted or distressed, unsure of how to support ourselves and our loved ones. Looking after ourselves not only gives us the strength to support others but it also helps us focus on our goal - securing our qualification. So what gets in the way and how can we move forward in the midst of these challenges?
Below you will find three common blocks (barriers and misconceptions) that can prevent us from doing what we need when separated from our loved ones.
But 'what if.....'
Our brain produces “what if” thoughts to protect us from danger. If we can anticipate danger then we can take action, right? But rather than prepare us, these thoughts may stimulate fear and torment us without providing any solution. “What if my loved ones get sick?” is a legitimate worry. Ruminating on these worries isn’t helpful – our mind will entertain all possible eventualities irrespective of how likely (or not) they are to happen.
Here in Australia it feels, at times, like nothing has changed. But when we think of our families, the huge disparity in our situations can result in guilt and distress. It can feel paralysing and stop us from engaging with others or doing fun activities. However, avoiding enjoyable activity doesn’t help our families and is instead a recipe for burn-out.
If we are able to socialise, it’s normal to want to avoid flaunting our freedoms to family. But allowing family to live vicariously through our current situation can be really positive and helps them remember that things will change.
As life continues almost as normal, many Australians can seem untouched by the difficulties experienced elsewhere in the world. We might become resentful when others don’t understand the impacts on us and our loved ones. Sharing how we feel is a pathway to understanding and compassion. Whereas resenting the situation can cost us energy and time but doesn’t help us do the things that matter. If you could spend that energy or time doing what matters, what would that look like?
Below are three things you can do to boost success.
Filter your content
What might start as a reasonable action - reading the news to find out what’s happening - can become an activity that drives despair and helplessness. Is it more fruitful to spend time connecting with family or friends than reading social media posts? If you do want to engage regularly with a particular topic that is emotionally challenging, set some boundaries around it. When is best to check, for how long, and what are the most reputable sites?
Ways of connecting
Sure, it’s not the same as a hug or being in each other’s physical company but technology can give us the next best thing. Chatting can be fun but mix it up and think creatively about how we connect with our loved ones.
- Take time to eat together. With some flexibility, it’s possible to eat lunch in one part of the world at the same time as dinner in Adelaide.
- Set regular catch up times and maintain them. These might focus around a shared activity or ritual at home.
- Have a themed catch up like games night. Cooking together can also be fun. It’s also possible to exercise together online
Refer to the ‘Need more info’ section on this page for other ideas.
Reconnecting to ritual
There will be times where we lose a loved one and are faced with difficult decisions. At times like these, our culture and belief systems can provide some solace. Rituals have a very important place in many belief systems and help us celebrate the life of someone we cared about. We can connect with some of these rituals irrespective of our location. Are there any rituals you can enact that can provide connection to culture and meaning during difficult times?
Refer to the ‘Need more info’ section on this page for more ideas.