COVID-19 has undoubtedly launched us into a very different world with dramatic impact to our lives and businesses. Adjusting and coping can be very challenging. It’s important to recognise that we are vulnerable to a host of different emotions and reactions which can even vary over a day. It is more important than ever to maintain our mental health. Here’s our top 5 mental health tips:

  1. Stay connected. The Chamber is offering weekly online events for you to connect with your Chamber community. Our informal Tuesday Check-Ins allow you to support or be supported most Tuesday mornings. We are also still holding our regular monthly breakfasts with a speaker. Check out the website for these online events. If you’re struggling, please don’t do this alone, reach out to someone. When we’re distressed it’s more difficult to find solutions and, as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. Next time it might well be you in the supporter role. Remember physical distancing doesn’t have to stop us from connecting thanks to technology.
  2. Access assistance. Whether it’s financial, practical or emotional, there is heaps of help available to you. Reach out early. There is no shame in accessing government assistance, these are ‘unprecedented’ times. The Chamber is regularly posting support information in the Facebook group and members are offering a range of useful events to the community so please visit the Facebook group periodically and watch out for alerts. Talk to other business owners and ask questions to learn more about opportunities. Get social.
  3. Stay informed but not overwhelmed. It would be easy to tune into a constant stream of information about COVID-19 but let’s not forget that the media has a negativity bias. Consider checking in for information once or twice a day. Trusted sources might include the ABC news and official government sites such as ‘Head to Health’ https://headtohealth.gov.au/covid-19-support/covid-19.
  4. Look after yourself. Self-care is critical so keep up a healthy diet, good sleep habits, some form of exercise and spend time doing something that brings you joy. Nature can be a great place to recharge, whether it’s taking a walk or even having lunch in the back yard. A few Chamber members highly recommend gardening as a stress reliever.
  5. Focus on what you can control. It’s easy for our thoughts to run away from us and for negativity to seep in. What we focus on grows whether it’s good or bad. Try to reframe negative thoughts by looking for another way of seeing a situation – there can be a possible silver lining in most challenges. This is a time of much uncertainty but there is also a possibility that there will be some aspects of the current challenges that will positively impact the way we do life and business in the future.

Following are websites that may be useful for supporting yourself or others:

RUOK? – https://www.ruok.org.au/

Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support – https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/

Lifeline – 13 11 14, https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Mental Health First Aid – https://mhfa.com.au/covid-19

CCIQ – https://www.cciq.com.au/

Federal Government Support for business – https://www.business.gov.au/Risk-management/Emergency-management/Coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business

Kate Hewish

Kate Hewish is the Principal of Horte Couture, and the Chair of the PR Committee