Who would’ve thought that at the start of a brand new decade we will have to either self-isolate, self-quarantine or social-distance to fight such a deadly virus that is circulating the world?! Taking lives, crashing economies, losing jobs and placing fear into peoples’ minds and hearts. Even though, in the UK, social distancing has only been in place for just about a week, it has interrupted so many plans, events, goals and potential achievements. The effects of COVID-19 will affect all of our lives and interrupt our plans for some time to come.
From not working with colleagues but having to stay connected into work remotely to not seeing friends or partners but only communicating via social media or the phone, these are just a few things we have been forced to adopt to.
Being locked up in my home for weeks on end took its toll on me during my darkest moments in my past and the idea of being locked in my house reminds me of those times. So, I understand the magnitude of this lockdown and how it may affect our wellbeing. However, this time round I have tools, habits and plans in place that will keep me in a positive mindset, understanding that this will not last forever, so I can therefore be prepared for when life goes back to normality.
1. Self-care is important
Start that skin care regime, clean your room, disinfect your kitchen! Now is the time to put into place positive and good habits that can last a lifetime and also place you in a good headspace and environment during this lockdown.
2. Plan your days
Make your days as normal as possible. Yes, you’re working from home or not able to work at all but try and keep yourself in your usual habits. Wake up, have a shower, cook and eat breakfast with your milky coffee, go for a walk, have lunch and scroll through social media (in moderation). Staying in bed for long periods of time, not seeing daylight and not eating properly will not do you any good.
3. Stay connected
Stay connected with colleagues, friends and family members during this time. Try and keep things as normal as possible. Find communities of people, virtually, who are able to understand your feelings. Additionally, this is the time for you to be that support system to those who are filled with anxiety and stress.
4. Don’t feed into the fearmongering
Hearing high numbers of those who have died from COVID-19 can worry anyone. Governments implementing policies may have destroyed any plans but limit your news and social media viewings. If you’re easily triggered but want to be aware of whats going on read the news in bitesize chunks and at specific times of the day. Do be fuelled with fear but filled with positivity and peace.
5. Plan for the future
With life and our days being quieter than usual (unless you have babies running around, then I’m really sorry) now is a good time to plan life for when we return to normality. That could be completing an online course that could be implemented when you return to work or putting together a business plan ready for review and submission or even planning to attend an event that you’re ready to ENJOY!
Please don’t let this time period shake you. I understand that there is uncertainty with jobs, finances, health and the future but if you stay focused on being healthy, both mentally and physically, and on your future plans you will come out of this well.
If like me you’re not inundated with social media #Challenges or asked to join House Party for a 6 way online party now is the right time to go full force into your own interests or start doing that thing you’ve been putting off because you’ve been too “busy” or consumed with life. Start reading that book. Writing that story skeleton. Start baking. Start working out in your home or outside. Stay in contact and connected with those close to you; call, facetime and have virtual dinners! It’s important not to go through this pandemic by yourself. So if you can help the vulnerable and those in need but stay safe!
My heart goes out to vulnerable people who may feel unsafe, unwell or unsure during these times whilst being at home. There are a number of resources available that are on hand to help:
Australia: Phone: 13 11 14 (24 hours/7 days) Text: 0477 13 11 14 (6pm – midnight AEDT, 7 nights) Chat online: https://www.lifeline.org.au/crisis-chat (7pm – midnight, 7 nights)
UK: Wide range of different type of tools, methods and information on how to navigate this period. https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips
Range of helplines for groups of people (vulnerable people, age & gender groups and people with conditions): https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/
USA: Contact the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (800) 985- 5990 that provides 24/7, 365-day-a- year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.