Looking Forward to 'Freedom Day'? – 7 Expert Tips on How to Survive and Thrive - Women's Health

Looking Forward to ‘Freedom Day’? – 7 Expert Tips on How to Survive and Thrive

The countdown is on.

by | Oct 7, 2021

Whilst preparing for life out of lockdown is an exciting prospect for many of us, the transition may also be daunting. Even positive change can induce feelings of stress, anxiety and dread, and it can take time to readjust to things we haven’t experienced in a while. This is where resilience training becomes essential – supporting our mental wellbeing as we adjust to this post-pandemic ‘new normal’.

Driven is an Australian organisation providing global resilience training for workplaces and individuals. Operating a scientifically proven AI-powered coach, Driven’s trainings help tackle this new set of mental challenges.

Jurie Rossouw, resilience expert and CEO of Driven, and Maria Ruberto, psychologist and Driven consultant, propose seven simple tips to navigating our mental shift and boosting our wellbeing as we emerge from lockdown. 

1. Separate home and work spaces

“While there are some great benefits to working from home, the blending of home and work spaces can be neurologically fatiguing, as there may be multiple tasks being attended to at the same time. Therefore, creating a separate space for work, where you can physically exit at the end of the day, is important. It allows your brain to recognise when you have finished working, and when it’s time to switch off and relax.”- Maria Ruberto

2. Reset to reconnect at home

“Strong support networks of friends and family are incredibly important for progressing and moving forward despite facing challenges and change. The lifting of lockdowns will, of course, reinvigorate your social connections with loved ones outside of your home, but it also provides an opportunity to improve the social connections within your home.”- Jurie Rossouw

3. Establish COVID-free time

“Being surrounded by Covid talk can be exhausting and stressful, especially outside the safety of your home. If you’re surrounded by constant negative commentary about the pandemic, you can take it on emotionally. Creating COVID-free time invites people back into having conversations of care, where you can talk about your families, your work, your interests. This allows you to connect beyond your views on the pandemic, and not allow these to cause division in your relationships.” – Maria Ruberto

4. Connect with Empathy

“Strong social connections improve your self-esteem, reduces feelings of loneliness, and gives you a stronger sense of who you are. However, be mindful of how you connect, since focusing on negatives can escalate fear activation in the brain. Have empathy for what people have been through, and then be the one that looks for reasons to be hopeful and optimistic about the future. Especially right now, we can all benefit from more language of hope!”- Jurie Rossouw

5. Remember to smile more

“Smiling not only has the ability to improve your mood, but it also has an enormous impact on signalling to other people that things are okay. Smiles are contagious. Your brain automatically recognises other people’s facial expressions – and sometimes you even copy them without realising it.  It has a profound impact on your neurological system, the way your brain strengthens itself, and the strong paralleling effect on other people who experience your smile.  Therefore it not only  improves your mood, but also the mood of those around you.” – Maria Ruberto

6. Use constructive language with loved ones

“Strong relationships and social connections are vital for our personal resilience, but they also offer an opportunity for us to improve the resilience of our loved ones. Now that restrictions are beginning to ease, we can uplift our friends and family face-to-face through constructive language, compliments, and gratitude. This allows us to build strength in others as well as ourselves.” – Jurie Rossouw

7. Allow yourself to be emotionally present

When strong emotions become too loud, understand they are a signal to assess the current situation. They are inviting you to pause and reflect: become curious and make inquiries to self.  These are the emotions that help us learn and grow.  Next time you feel strong emotions arise, instead of pushing them away, welcome them and ask yourself – what is this telling me? What can I learn from this? How can this help me grow and move forward? Focussing forward is key.” – Maria Ruberto

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