I’m sure by now we have all heard of Covid-19, with the media covering it through every headline, most people on Facebook talking about it, worrying about it, and questioning every intervention which surrounds it. Everywhere we turn there is mention of the hugely concerning topic which is corona virus. Our global society has the issue on the mind.
Unfortunately, as it stands today (at the point of writing), there’s not much chance of escaping the issue. However, there are things which can be done to try to protect our mental well-being and reduce the level of anxiety and fear that so many appear to be suffering.
Firstly, be mindful of information you are reading throughout social media. There are so many status updates and unreliable sources of information been shared, some containing incredibly negative and scary content, which are not necessarily proven to be true.
Understandably this occurs a lot with any form of social media at any point in time, however, during a global pandemic, misleading and false information could cause a mass of panic and anxiety to an already unusually worrying time. Understandably, this can have an extremely negative impact upon people’s mental well-being. If you are wanting to keep up to date with what is happening, try using information and guidance published by the government. Gov.uk has regular updates of all published material. The NHS website also has information and guidance on corona virus. If wanting to take your reading and knowledge further, try using scientific research wherever possible. Aim to use information which is backed and reliable. Reading endless misleading information through social media can cause unnecessary anxiety, at a time when a calm mind is going to be needed the most.
Second, be organised and prepared but try not to panic. Write practical lists of essential items you need to buy so they're available at home during lock down or self-isolation. When you go to the shops, if it’s chaos and making you feel anxious come away and try again when it may have calmed down. Think about any friends, family, neighbours you could call on for supplies should a time arrive that you can’t get them yourself. There may be local COVID19 groups set up to support people who need help with essentials, many of which can be accessed via Facebook.
Third, breath! This may sound like a pretty obvious concept, however, by focussing on our breathing we can begin to identify when we need to take a step back and refocus our minds away from an anxious situation. There is a mass of breathing techniques and meditation styles out there, for me personally I find that just focussing my mind on deep breaths in and out can usually calm my mind if I can identify anxiety coming early enough. If I need something a little more intense, I use the 7-step process, this has various different approaches, however for me I find it works best by,
Sitting in a quiet comfortable place if possible, although this can do be done almost anywhere.
Closing your mouth
Breath in through your nose slowly and begin inhaling, while visualising these breaths as steps upwards to the count of 7.
Breath out through your mouth, slowly, and in reverse of the previous step visualise exhaling back down those steps to the count of 11.
After a few moments you should start to feel calmer by having taken your minds focus of the anxiety and bringing your breathing to the forefront of your mind.
Understandably these types of breathing techniques do not work the same for everyone, and it may be a case of trial and error for choosing the best methods for you personally. There lots of apps, websites and blogs dedicated to this, so read and find what way works best for you.
Fourth, should the time arise of self-isolation or now during lockdown, plan some indoor activities. Although time spent away from work, family and friends is not always ideal, it can be used as time of self-reflection and relaxation. Things to consider,
Use the time to read that stack of books you’ve been wanting to read.
Start that art piece you’ve been thinking about.
Start working on those small-scale home improvements.
Start that blog you’ve been thinking of writing.
Binge watch all those box sets you’ve had your eyes on.
Use you tube videos for yoga or other types of exercise you can do from your front room or if possible, your garden so your still getting fresh air.
Lastly but possibly the most important, stay connected with all your loved ones. If you can’t have physical contact use facetime, phone calls, texts, or even write to them. If you're lucky enough to have your family under the same roof, then this is the ultimate opportunity for quality time together but make time for yourself too if you need it.
Play board games/cards etc
Take the time for deep and meaningful conversations about your most passionate subjects.
Have endless kitchen discos to your favourite music.
Take care of each other
Above all else in these periods of worry and uncertainty, reflect on what and who is most important. Check in on all your loved ones. Use this time to appreciate each other, connection is so important, we are all in this together.
Take care, stay safe and look out for each other,
My name is Jennifer Bates. I work with Children and Young People in a therapeutic manner to help support them in building aspirations. I’m trained to level 4 in counselling and I’m currently studying full time for a BA (Hons) Degree in Childhood and Youth Studies. Having 4 children and a very busy life, I enjoy spending time with my crazy bunch of friends and writing in my spare time to help relax my mind.