Looking after your wellbeing and mental health in this pandemic, endemic, and beyond

By Dr Zhouije Ding and the CCS GEDI committee

COVID-19 has significantly changed our daily life, an outcome shared across the world. Here in Melbourne, endless lockdowns and the question of “Will we ever be back to normal?” haunts us all.

When my 6-year old child asked me, “Could we go abroad and visit grandpa and grandma because I miss them so much”, it was definitely a heart-breaking moment, in which all I could think to say was “Yes, we will, one day”.

So many other challenging questions have passed through our minds during the ups and downs of this year, including, “How am I going to get funding this year in order to continue my career? Or get a promotion? Or have enough for a thesis?” adding to the heaviness and gloom. These questions are compounded by the fatigue, increased mental loads, increased carer responsibilities, increased pastoral care, and other stressors attributed to the extended lockdowns.

During these continuing uncertain times, many have experienced anxiety, sadness, anger, stress, frustration and loneliness, which are all a normal reaction to the unpredictability of the future and the current tumultuousness of now.
But, what we have all learned through the experience is that it is OK to not feel OK.

October is Mental Health Month (See more events), developed by the Mental Health Foundation Australia. This year’s theme is post-pandemic recovery challenges and resilience. To support you in returning to the workplace and ease your stress, the CCS GEDI committee would like to share with you links to some amazing resources that may help improve your wellbeing and mental health during this time.

It is also really important to remember to set aside some time in your day - everyday - to step away from your pipette, desk or computer and take a 15-minute break to walk around your neighbourhood, the park or have a coffee/tea break while connecting and having a conversation with your colleagues.

In addition, if you do need to talk to someone professional, Monash University offers support through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) on 1300 360 364 or the University counselling services on (03) 9905 3020, if required.

Do you have any resources that you have come across that you think are amazing too? Why not let us know (ccs.gedi@monash.edu) or take part yourself in Mental Health Month by sharing them with your colleagues!