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Strategies to stay calm and focused during times of uncertainty

Article developed in collaboration with SuperFriend

COVID-19 has created a level of uncertainty around the future of work for many people across multiple industries. This uncertainty is having a significant mental health impact with 1 in 3 calls to Beyond Blue’s mental health line currently coronavirus-related .

Not knowing when you’ll next find work, if you’ll be able to reopen your doors and having to stand-down staff is incredibly stressful at any time. Not knowing what the future holds and whether work may dry up is increasing the mental load on employees and business owners alike.

While it can feel extremely stressful and exhausting having so many unknowns – there are few strategies you can incorporate to help you stay focused and get on top of the things.

Focus on what you can control

While you may be used to planning months or even years ahead, shifting your focus to the immediate future in terms of days and weeks means you can be more responsive to information as it unfolds and your ability to prioritise. This also gives your brain the space to focus on the key priorities around you more effectively.

Tips:

  • Stop your mind from running ahead to all the ‘what-ifs’ that may never happen, and instead try to deal with those things that are fact-based or require immediate attention
  • Focus on the things that you can do each day, no matter how small. It will help you to re-energise if you tick off small easily achievable goals as you work towards bigger, seemingly insurmountable tasks
  • Keep a calm and practical approach to day-to-day activities as much as possible – this will help you to conserve your mental energy and emotional well-being.

Prioritise your mental health

You will be far more effective in supporting yourself and those around you, if you’re feeling mentally strong. As the saying goes, ‘put your own oxygen mask on first and then help others’.

The National Mental Health Commission has come together with mental health organisations, experts and leaders to launch # InThisTogether – a national conversation that everyone can join in on, sharing practical tips online. 

Here are some of their recommendations:

  • Get sweaty – exercise is great for your mental health
  • Take breaks when you need them
  • Routine helps – create a new daily routine
  • Follow the facts – pause the scrolling
  • Financial stress is real – talk about it

Help each other

While we are keeping physically distant, it is more important than ever that we remain socially and emotionally connected.

Sometimes it can help to talk to someone about these frustrations. That might be with your partner or a friend, your GP, or calling a support service to talk through your worries.

Consider getting involved with volunteer organisations or charities who are providing services to people who need them most right now. We know that people have a remarkable way of pulling together through tough times and if we focus on looking out for one another, we will get to the other side of this.

Be patient with yourself

Do whatever it is that helps you to get some perspective and start to put the stress behind you. Be patient with yourself and remember it’s okay to take some time to work through things.

Remember, this will not last forever

While this has been and will continue to be stressful period, it doesn't mean we are all going to walk out of this period with poor mental health. But it does mean we need to be more conscious about our efforts to support and protect our bodies and minds during this difficult time.

Stay informed

There are so many helpful resources out there to support us through this tough time. Sifting through them can be overwhelming, so sticking to a few reputable resources can help to simplify things.

Below are excellent online resources that will prove helpful during times of uncertainty, so that you can make the best decisions.

Online resources

Resource Website 
Read market updates from Sunsuper’s Chief Economist, Brian Parker and listen to podcasts  sunsuper.com.au/covid19 
Federal government COVID-19 updates (including multilingual translations)  australia.gov.au 
SuperFriend  superfriend.com.au/covid-19-support 
Beyond Blue  beyondblue.org.au 
Lifeline  lifeline.org.au 
Heads-up  headsup.org.au 
Black Dog institute  Black Dog institute 

If you’re a Sunsuper member and are experiencing financial concerns and want to know more about early access to super, take a moment to visit Sunsuper’s dedicated page at sunsuper.com.au/covid19 or call us on 13 11 84.