A Mental Health Guide to Surviving COVID-19
As we near the end of an extraordinary week, I thought now was a good time to write a blog. I do not claim to have all the answers or a magic wand to fix your worries, but what I can do is share some information that might help you and your loved ones keep your mind healthy during this period of uncertainty, isolation and change.
Given the situation we find ourselves in it is no wonder we are experiencing a diverse range of emotional responses. Fear, dread, anger, sadness and loss are amongst the few that have either been mentioned to me or I have experienced myself over the past few days. All these responses are perfectly normal when faced with a reality that is so far from what is typical for us in 2020. Remember, this is temporary, this will pass.
If you are a person who thrives in a routine, or who have children who are used to routine, create your new ‘normal’ at home. Have set times to get up, eat, get showered and dressed to start the day. If you’re working from home try to set up your work space away from your sleep space and if you can, pack away the laptop etc at the end of each day. Perhaps light a candle to signify the end of work and the beginning of your evening.
A ‘work well from home’ link from the BBC, copy and paste into your browser.
For Parents and Children, a timetable such as this might be helpful.
Stay Connected. I cannot emphasise this enough. Human beings are social animals, we need to feel connected to others. We may not be able to visit our friends, family or neighbours in person but we can pick up the phone, facetime, Skype, email or write letters. The elderly are less likely to have access to digital communications so the phone will be a lifeline for them.
Stay productive and purposeful. Spring clean, clear out that wardrobe or cupboard that you’ve been meaning to do, re-organise your admin/finances- whatever you’ve not got around to- you can now!
Journal. Writing down our feelings and thoughts helps us to process. Putting pen to paper and releasing the words out of our minds and onto paper relieves stress and helps us to make sense of how we are feeling.
Walk out in nature. Being amongst nature in woods, forests, gardens, by the sea/river and parks is said to reduce stress by a huge 40%. If you have a garden, that would be a great place to connect with the outside, inhale deep lung-fuls of fresh clean air and breathe…..
Exercise. Moderate exercise releases endorphins in the brain which results in an overall feeling of wellness and happiness. As little as 20 minutes a day will have a positive affect so get your walking shoes on, wrap up and get out!
Yoga. If you’ve not tried yoga before take a look at Yoga with Adrienne, accessible via Youtube, as an introduction. Yoga aids the function of our vital organs, stretches our muscles, relieves stiffness and stress and is proven to have a positive affect on well-being.
Meditate or Simply Relax. My favourite app is Insight Timer but there are other very popular apps such as Calm and Headspace. These apps are best used to ‘check out’ of life for a while, slow things down and take some time out for you. You’ll be amazed at how just a 5-minute meditation can relax and calm anxiety and stress. Making it a daily practice will serve you well.
Name 3 things you are grateful for. Name these out loud, at the same time every day so that it becomes a habit. Just before bed can be a good time.
Remember, this situation is temporary, it will pass and normal life WILL resume.
Feel free to share this blog or get in touch if you need further support, I’m only a phone call or email away and can arrange therapy via Zoom.