Using day-to-day tasks to tackle the ‘cortisol casserole’ of lockdown

Even if you’re not noticing yet, we’re all stewing in stress hormones.

“Being the excellent citizens we are, we’re all keeping a close eye on COVID updates and the news, but that can compound the delicious cortisol casserole we are in,” says Fortem Clinician, Candice Jones.

“On top of that many of us are trying to become school teachers for the better part of the day alongside our usual workloads, if working from home is an option.

“Add in a lack of social contact and coffee runs with work mates, and we’re missing out on many of the usual injections of happy hormones.”

There are a range of pressures and stress we are all juggling at this time that are unique to our own personnel circumstances.

However, as different as each of us is, there are things we can all do that help ride the stress hormone rollercoaster.

“Mindfulness is an excellent tool to counteract some of these negative impacts of lockdown – the stream of bad news, the reduced social contact, the unpredictable emotions and behaviours in our kids (and ourselves), to name a few.”

‘Stop, Breath & Think’ is a good place to start if you are new to mindfulness. Peak Fortem and Fortem’s Resource Library also have a range of relevant and timely tools you can download, watch, listen to, and share.

“You don’t necessarily need to change too much with your day-to-day life in order ‘to do’ mindfulness, in fact, picking one of the many activities you are already doing and taking the time to notice or focus, gives your overstimulated and stressed-out brain time to decompress,” Candice says.

“Small moments, accumulated over the day have been proven to reduce cumulative stress.

“It’ll feel weird at first, and you’ll probably roll your eyes – that’s OK. But mindfulness can also make the most mundane of activities that bit easier, and eventually, not the awful chore you might despise.

“My favourite is mindfully emptying the dishwasher – because it’s so easy, and its something that’s in every day.

“Feel the heat as you open, hear the clink of dishes, notice the slight damp on your face, the heat of the cutlery as a different temperature to the plastics.

“And look at that, I haven’t thought about how hard life is or how scary the news is for five whole minutes, my brain is thankful for the break.”

Fortem activities, events and community engagements are designed to support the mental fitness of our first responder families. Read more about Our Approach.
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