The fact of the matter is that many of us like to feel in control, and with the way things have gone surrounding Coronavirus, any control that we had in our lives has totally been taken away. We were plunged in to a situation we could never have expected ,and as individuals were totally unprepared for. The effect of this can be huge, and can cause alot of stress, anxiety and worry as a result.
We hope to share some tips with you to ease any of these feelings during these unprecedented times. Please help us to help more people by sharing this with anybody you feel it may benefit. We think we would all appreciate feeling a little more at ease at the moment.
The problem at hand
We have been thrown in to a situation we have never been in before, therefore, we have no experience of how to deal with this. There are many new factors that people have never encountered such as being isolated and having a lack of contact with people (other than via the phone or internet), not knowing when they will go back to work or what the economy will look like once this is all over, financial concerns, a constant worry over not only our own health but also that of our loved ones and feeling uneasy about normal everyday things such as going shopping, receiving parcels, passing people when out etc. Whilst all of this may be out of our control, if we can find a way to deal with this as effectively as we can then we are on a good path.
As humans we thrive on connection, and the lack of it at the moment can most definitely contribute towards feelings of worry, low mood or depession, and anxiety. We have listed some points below that we feel may be of benefit to help you feel connected:
- Arrange regular calls or video-calls with the friends and family that you would normally meet up with.
- If you are struggling for things to talk about then arrange to have some fun whilst you are at it and play a virtual game together, or read a book/television programme and then discuss it when you call.
- Be sure to check in with people more often than you would normally as a way to not only feel connected but to also put your mind at ease that they are doing ok as well.
- If you feel comfortable to, share your contact details with neighbours. This is especially great if you do not have as many friends or family locally as it can help you feel connected to your local community. When you pop out to the bin, or are out in the garden, if you see them make sure you take the time to chat. This can really make a huge difference to your day. Looking out for each other by checking in, seeing if anybody needs shopping picking up whilst you are going for example, is a great way of coming together too and can really lift spirits.
Create a routine
We are creatures of habit, and typically thrive off having a routine. During these times, not working or socialising and not being able to pop out removes any form of routine we had. It may feel that it is too much to try and stick to things you were doing before such as what time you woke up, ate, went to bed etc, so take this opportunity to make this time work for you. Instead of letting the day happen, decide how you would like it to go. Create a routine that dictates what time you would like to get up and go to bed, then decide how you would like to fill it: Perhaps you are still working from home, if so, create a set workspace and work times and abide to them. Or maybe you have children, in which case how can you utilise the day to make it as enjoyable for you all? Or maybe this is the first time you have had time on your own, if so, what would you like to fill your day with?
Take the pressure off
This does not have to be a time of growth, despite what so many things that you read on the internet/social media may say. Let’s be honest, this is a time for survival and working out how to get through. Of course, you can take the approach of making the most out of the situation and chosing your mindset, but only if that is right for you right now. This may not feel like the time to learn a new skill, or take up a new hobby and that is absolutely fine. Work out how you want to best deal with this for yourself and do not compare to anybody else. This last point is pretty huge in itself: If we are feeling low then we tend to think “Everybody else is in this situation, I just need to pull myself together” but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes we are all in this situation in that we are going through the pandemic at the same time, but everybody will have different worries: Everybody’s situation around finances, work, family concerns etc will be different so the very last thing we should do is compare ourselves to others, and just because somebody ‘seems’ to be doing ok, doesn’t mean that has to be the same for us.
So in one breath we have just said connect, and now we are saying disconnect? Yep, that’s right! Disconnect from all of the things that are not serving you: Is scrolling through social media making you more anxious, is watching the news filling you with worry? Choose to surround yourself with influences that give you strength, and where possible disconnect, or at least choose to minimise the time spent on those things that bring you down. Also be careful on where you are getting your information from, there is alot flying about on the internet at the moment that is incorrect and can cause us more worry. We need to stay up to date, but we also need to be the guard at our gates of our own mental health and wellbeing.
It’s ok for your emotions to go up and down
Just as we would normally experience, some days we feel good and others days not so good. You may find this is the case during this time, and perhaps you are on more of a rollercoaster than normal with your emotions. Acceptance is huge when it comes to this, know that it is OK to feel better on some days than others, and feeling things such as sadness, anger, frustration etc is all completely normal. Do not try to delve in to these and work them out at this stage, now is not the time to be doing that, simply try and go with it and if you can ride with the wave you will find you will make your way up and out of it alot quicker than fighting it. We have shared some tips on how to meditate previously, if this is something that is of interest or you think could benefit then check it out, it is a great way of slowing things down and feeling like you are taking back a bit of control. Of course, it goes without saying that if you feel like it is getting out of control then please seek professional help.
Recognise what makes you feel good
Try to take note of the things that pick you up. Do you enjoy spending time outside? Does getting moving and being more active make you feel good? Perhaps sitting in quiet and doing something mindful such as colouring, knitting, reading etc may make you feel good. Once you have this, where possible try to slot them in to your day. We know more than anybody how much easier it is said than done. If you are in a position where you have small children for example, knowing what helps you to feel good can be one step closer towards slotting it in at some point throughout the day, even if it is just for 10 minutes.
You’ve got this
This information is geared around helping us get through this difficult time and come out of it the other side. We appreciate that everybody will be coping in a different way and at a different level. We also recognise that for some people who struggle with their mental health these tips may not be enough, please do seek professional help if you feel you need further support.
We wish you all well and hope that you stay safe in these challenging times.
Our thoughts are with you all.