The coronavirus has well and truly taken hold and is affecting us all with more and more people in self-isolation and social distancing. We don’t know how long the crisis will last and the situation is very uncertain.
As the virus spreads, the importance of self-isolating for our physical health is pretty obvious but it’s important to remember that looking after our mental health should be high up on the list too.
FEELING OUT OF CONTROL
Human beings tend to worry about things we cannot control and feeling out of control is not a nice feeling. So, establishing ways of how we can remain in control of our lives can be amazing for our mental health and lift our mood.
The announcement that schools were to close to the majority of children, added another layer of worry for parents and families concerned with how they are going to cope with having children home for an unknown length of time.
Cafe’s, pubs and restaurants are also now closed which means that we will no longer have the ability to group together and be sociable – so we have to find another way.
And now we know that all non-essential movement outside of the home is banned and we have to make do with just one walk/run/exercise a day. Life for everyone has just got harder.
We hear daily that the NHS is inundated and the doctors and nurses working throughout the crisis are struggling to cope.
This period of self-isolation is likely to be incredibly stressful if you let it, so find ways to make it as stress-free and painless as possible.
THIS CRISIS WILL END
It’s so important to realise that this crisis will end at some point and things will get back to, what we recognise as normal. During this completely unprecedented time we have to make some difficult and challenging decisions to reduce contact with family, friends and loved one, and being a social bunch, most human beings find it a very unnatural thing to do.
At first, having a few days at home by yourself may seem a really attractive proposition, like having a long weekend, but when reality strikes and you realise you can’t go out to meet your friends, you can’t speak to people face-to-face and all of your freedoms outside of the house are taken away from you, it may become a different story and your mental health may suffer.
ISOLATION AND MENTAL HEALTH
Being in isolation can make your mental health take a tumble in quite a short time, so it’s important that during your time of social-isolation you make sure that you do as much as you can to reduce the impact on your mental health.
THREE GRANDMOTHERS FROM SALFORD
You may have seen the story on the news about the 3 grandmothers who don’t want to self-isolate alone so they plan to self-isolating together. They admit to being anxious about becoming ill with the virus so they have decided to take positive action and support each other through the isolation period. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-51951583/coronavirus-three-grandmothers-self-isolating-together
HOW CAN YOU HELP YOURSELF?
There are many, many ways to help yourselves through this crisis. Maybe be like the Italians and start signing with your neighbours or helping others with shopping and chores. It’s hopeful that our communities will come together and create an amazingly positive vibe during what is a stressful and anxious time for most of us.
Below are just 5 tips to help you get through your period of self-isolation:
PLAN FOR YOUR DAY
- Keep your routine – as far as you can keep to your same routine. Get up at the same time, shower and plan to have all meals at the same time as you do now, so you punctuate your day with normal and routine things.
- Set time aside during your day – for the things you enjoy. Gardening, cooking, reading a book, listening to music, watching a movie, listening to the radio, playing a game, doing some exercise or crafting. Whatever activity you choose will take your mind off being isolated.
- News bulletins – if watching the news increases your stress and anxiety, limit the time you spend watching it. Plan to catch up with news bulletins a few times a day maybe in the morning, lunchtime and again in the evening. Also, turn off the news bulletin notifications on your mobile phone and smartwatch if receiving them increases your stress and anxiety levels.
USE OUTSIDE SPACE
- Spend time outside – remember, at the moment self-isolating doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. As long as you make sure you adhere to the guidelines of keeping an appropriate distance between you and others, there is still the opportunity to be outside, maybe a walk in the park or along the beach. Or how about spending time in your garden, if you have one, on a balcony or even by an open window can really lift your mood.
- Isolation is not a punishment – it’s for your and other’s safety so like the ladies from Salford, try to put a positive spin on being isolated at home rather than thinking it’s a punishment.
- Declutter – spend some time each day getting through those jobs that you never have time to do. Clear out drawers and cupboards or declutter your wardrobe.
- Be kind to yourself – you have been given some time to catch up with yourself so, do whatever you fancy doing, do it, with no guilt.
- Exercise – take some time each day to exercise, this will be good for your mental health, lift your mood and help you maintain or increase your general fitness. Maybe look online for a suitable exercise routine or for something a little gentler, try yoga or mindfulness instead.
FIND WAYS TO KEEP IN CONTACT
- Technology – one of the great things about these days is, despite being isolated in our homes, we are still able to speak to friends, family, and loved ones through platforms such as Skype, FaceTime, texting, and phone calls.
- WhatsApp – why not set up a WhatsApp group so that you can chat regularly and keep up-to-date with what’s going on with friends, family, colleagues, and neighbours.
- Book Club – there is no need to miss out on your fix of book clue, just switch to an online platform and carry on discussing your books.
- A virtual afternoon tea – being isolated means you can’t have tea with your parents every Sunday afternoon or catch up with friends on a Friday night. But why not keep up those events by doing them virtually, via the technology available to you.
- Social media – like or loathe social media, it can be a lifeline during this time to keep in contact with people across the world. Please remember though to keep yourself safe online and follow all the recommendations and advice about keeping safe on social media.
Until this crisis has passed, it’s so important to take care of yourselves and others.
Remember to keep washing your hands, keep your distance but above all keep safe.
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