1. Avoid Festering.
When living in quarantine it is very easy to treat it as one long excuse to not engage properly in the world. Create a routine, get dressed, set some structure around meals and breaks.Routine can create some channel for certainty, readdressing the balance between the certain and the uncertain.
2. Be mindful of introversion, as it breeds.
Being at home for many people is safe, secure and comfortable meaning it can really fuel the introverts within us. Being an introvert means you turn inward mentally for energy. It is important to occasionally remind yourself that you also get energy from others, especially if you know you can get sucked into your introvert self!
3. Remember that you are a person in the real world with purpose!
We all have our special and unique offerings even if you don’t believe it. You are a purposeful human beyond your front door and your phone screens.
4. Do things to bring you joy.
We need to give ourselves time for these things always, but especially now. They bring us back up when mood starts to dip even if we aren’t aware of it.
5. Remember that you are good at things, and do them.
Remind yourself of your talents or skills or abilities. We need to buffer our ego’s a bit.
6. Limit your exposure to news
Instagram stories, gossip and The News itself can keep us up to date with fact as well as fiction, and much of it comes with drama and frenzy and is emotionally charged. It may be helpful to limit your exposure to news to certain times of day, or dedicated amounts of time only. Creating some boundaries here can protect us and our emotional worlds.
7. Watch out for people who catastrophize.
People are going to react differently to you. Catastrophizing when there is nothing you can do about it is not helpful! We need to be able to put space between catastrophic voices and your self soothing voice. Protect yourself and your mental wellbeing. Additionally, for those with children, they are going to look at your responses to this. Children fill gaps of information left out- don’t let them fill the gaps with catastrophe and disaster, it can have a lasting impact.
8. Create variety in how you spend your time - humans need variety.
Here is a list of things we can do to nurture that need for variety, and maybe even grow areas of our life we usually neglect!
As most of you probably are thinking about already- exercise. Youtube videos, Yoga, whatever it is- keep some activity and don’t fester. This is time to get creative and try something new.
Diet will also be important, when the panic buying calms down, try and recreate a normal or even more nutritious diet than you had before all of this started. The link between body and mind is real.
Find a hobby. Simple.
Having everyone in the same boat interacting behind screens actually means our whole world opens up. We have more time to put into friendships and distance is no longer a barrier. Grow those friendships you’ve not had time for, reach out to that old school friend maybe.
Lots of people have unfortunately lost jobs, but there will be a rise in new jobs as our needs change and grow. Keep an eye out. Hospitals are likely to need more staff, we already need new delivery drivers for example and supermarkets need workers. Children are going to need childcare and maybe tutoring now schools are shut, and the dogs of the elderly need walks. Volunteering often can serve an internal need to help others which is also helpful in numerous ways.
The stuff that you are good at may be helpful to others. Online concerts if you are a musician can be arranged, hosting online house parties, if you are into fitness maybe you can run a daily online fitness class. I was recommended a weekly drag aerobics class you can stream right to your living room earlier, which sounds brilliant.
Journaling can be really helpful at the best of times, but remember that this is a moment in history! We may want to record this for our grandchildren or just for yourself in time to come.
In summary, these times truly are uncertain and unprecedented, but there are things that we can do and there are things that we can be careful of in aid of our psychological wellbeing. I would like to finish this article on the positive notes. Primarily, observing communities come together, admiring the enduring battle our NHS staff are putting in running the hospitals with minimal and no allocated time off, seeing the kindness and durability of our nation is inspiring and heartwarming. If we can give a bit back it can also help our own feelings of fulfilment.
As the UK goes into this dark ominous tunnel, we can keep our eyes on those countries coming out of the worst and the amazing science to develop new drugs and vaccines to treat the disease. There is some light there, and use those stories to hold onto hope. ‘Don’t get your hopes up’ is such a useless phrase, because while it helps protect us from disappointment, at some point we are going to feel disappointment anyway. Why stamp all over that nice hopeful feeling when it shows up for us?
We are physically and emotionally a bit trapped right now but we also now have a sea of opportunity- opportunity to sculpt our days in our own ways. We will all get more sleep; the language we started learning last summer we now have time to come back to; that design project we wanted to do but never got round to we maybe can now! It is a time to kick old habits and develop new positive ones. I for one am going to try and kick my sugar addiction!
Please get in touch if you want to comment or speak about this, I welcome comments and conversation.
I am offering shorter sessions in this time in order to provide a means to ‘offload’ or just check in. And anyone working in the NHS I am offering significantly reduced rates.