This is an extraordinary situation for everyone. We are all in the same boat, being forced to accept less and hopefully we will all discover more. Many individuals are literally giving their lives to help others and many others are compromising their own health for others. I am working increasing hours within the NHS because people need my skills. All I want you to do is to stay home and keep the spread under control. We are in it together. You do your bit and we will do ours. Lets keep our great NHS working and be able to deliver what it is committed to.
Two key points:
First, it is not for ever.
Second, accept it as the new norm. Not accepting it will cause anxiety and stress, both of which will transfer to your family and will increase levels of cortisol in your body.
How best to deal with it.
First, some important don’ts:
- Don’t listen to too much news or read too much on social media. Too much information, much of it speculation and fear spreading acts like a machine gun on the brain, which is trying to process this new situation.
- Don’t plan too many key things for the next couple of months. Things change daily, so focus on each day, not something six weeks away.
- Don’t get angry and accusative about what is happening. Anger has a negative impact on your own body. Venting your spleen on social media or engaging with someone else’s comments will bring out the worst in you and others on that forum.
Now, the much needed and far more healthy Dos!
Appreciate this time that we have all been given, whatever the circumstances, to step away from the fast-paced world we were inhabiting. Give yourself much needed room to breathe, refocus, reacquaint yourself with old hobbies and your family.
Trust in your own ability to cope with this new way of living. Get to know yourself. You have inner strengths that may well have become overlooked in the daily commute. You will probably achieve more just by slowing down and working better.
Refocus your energy onto yourself and your family. Get out that ‘I am going to . . .’ list and reorder it. If writing that book was near the bottom, bring it to the top. Think small: write a poem every day, a letter to your children, a letter to your husband, to yourself. Handwrite and doodle. It may become addictive. When was the last time you got the colouring crayons out and had a good doodle?
Relax mentally, emotionally and physically each day. Let go of negative thoughts or complex situations you can’t control, even if it means having a good cry while you’re in the shower. Watch uplifting films and nature programmes, which all reinforce positive emotions and boost energy levels. There is a plethora of FREE exercise, yoga, relaxation videos and live classes online. Set aside a time each day for your body and we know that improves your mental health.
Vitamin D: we all need sufficient quantities of this vitamin for our health and usually just being outdoors is enough. However, it may be worth ordering a supply of Vitamin D supplements to top up your levels. Get as much natural daylight as possible: you can currently exercise outdoors once a day, but also sit by an open window.
Routine, however simple, is important. As humans we thrive on routine. Start the day with some ‘you time’, whatever form that takes, then you will feel ready for your family. Sit at the table to eat breakfast, lunch and an evening meal. Time for real conversation again. Food suddenly becomes more important when we are stuck at home, so by being more structured in how we prepare and serve our meals there should be less waste, more creativity and more pleasure.
Plan one household chore a day in addition to the everyday necessities.
Community may no longer be available on our streets, in our pubs, clubs or cafes, but it is thriving online and over the telephone. New ways of reaching out to distant members of our families are being found on a daily basis. Schools are working hard to ensure pupils continue to learn and engage with education in some form. Creative industries are discovering new ways to promote art, literature, music, dance and theater. Never have there been more exciting times to access things remotely.
Embrace all for the greater good. Keep safe and be positive. We will get through this.