Young adulthood is a time of immense psychological and social change. In an ideal world the transition from adolescence to independence includes opportunities to explore the wider world, experiment with identity, social connections, vocational learning, employment and living independently.
The pandemic strategy in Australia has changed dramatically since the arrival of the delta variant, and feeling anxious about “living with covid” after lockdown is understandable. The previous pandemic normal that we have learned to live with has suddenly disappeared.
The next step in our personal and country’s adjustment is likely to be challenging for everyone. Whatever the future looks like, it’s important to maintain the essential foundations of mental health and wellbeing …. a structured daily routine, clear boundaries between work/study and non-work, a good sleep routine, regular exercise and social connection with others.
Anxiety is part of our body’s fight or flight response, and is a protective survival mechanism that evolved in humans over a long period of time. If you have high levels of anxiety you probably come from a long line of ancestors who had a strong anxiety response that kept them and their family safe. In our modern society we’ve become disconnected from the evolution of our physiology, the role of anxiety in our keeping us safe, and the value of connecting to our mind and body’s anxiety signals.
Clinical depression is an emotional, cognitive and physical state that negatively affects a person’s day to day life. Many people might use the term to describe feeling low, downhearted or upset, however, clinical depression is a different feeling compared to the regular ups and downs of life that may affect our mood. Symptoms of clinical depression include feeling a loss of joy and interest in pleasurable activities, sleep difficulties, difficulty initiating activities, avoidance of social contact, hopelessness, worrying, ruminating about negative events, catastrophising, blaming ourselves for things outside of our control. For some people clinical depression is accompanied by hopelessness and suicidal ideation, and this is a sign that they need urgent professional help from a GP, Psychologist or Psychiatrist.
Grief is a universal human experience, yet one that is poorly understood in our modern social media dominated society. Grief is a profound emotion encompassing a multitude of feelings including sadness, anger, disbelief, numbness, confusion, hopelessness and disorientation. Grief occurs after a significant loss such as the death of a child, partner, sibling, parent or friend, moving to another country and migration with accompanying loss of personal history and social network. We can also experience grief after the loss of a job, a significant deterioration in our health, or the death of a beloved pet. Grief and death are largely invisible in our modern society, where few people live in multi-generational families and have little or no experience of the process of death and grief.