Creating Calm in the Corona Chaos
As someone working in mental health, I feel it’s important to discuss how we can care for ourselves and others when facing the inevitable uncertainty of the impact of Coronavirus. Each and every one of us will be impacted whether it be directly or indirectly and therefore knowing how to look after ourselves is essential when all else feels so very unknown.
I think the most important thing to remember is – anxiety is a natural response and one in which we are all capable of experiencing for many different reasons therefore, feeling anxious about our current situation is certainly not invalid, and these times of uncertainty and mass panic may lead to those who already suffer with mental health issues finding themselves spiralling into deeper depths of psychological pain.
I’ve put together some realistic self-help tips in order to encourage people to acknowledge their mental health and to maintain a level of self-care when those around you are also anxious.
1: Avoiding social situations doesn’t mean you cannot socialise.
Group chats – providing they don’t create anxiety, they can be a place of comedy gold and constant chat and support, be open and honest if talking about coronavirus is making you feel anxious. Ask your friends to limit how much they talk about it. Reach out to charities, family and friends – people cannot help if they do not know how you’re feeling. Send videos and voice notes to chat, verbally speaking can be so therapeutic – how often do you talk to yourself for comfort? Think about it …
2. Use your phone to ring people.
How very 90’s! But seriously, you have unlimited minutes and I bet you use around 100 a month – get your money’s worth and get on that phone. I personally recommend calling elderly members of your family/friendship group. Isolation can be so very detrimental to our mental health and some do not have access to the wonderful world of the internet and memes like we know it. I have just enquired about befriending with Age UK and I am hoping I can offer some comfort to others by having a friendly chit chat over the phone, which leads me to my next point…
3. Support your local charities.
If you are healthy, fit and able to lend some support, contact your local charities and see where you may be able to help out as they are going to be under enormous stress and pressure over the coming weeks. The endorphins from helping others are like no other and a proven way to impact your mental health positively.
5. Stimulate your mind
Pick up the book you’ve had on your shelf for weeks, listen to a new podcast, research a topic you have been interested in then share your knowledge in your group chat to break up all the Corona chat! Get a new hobby, now is the perfect time to stop avoiding the things we’ve said we have wanted to do but ‘never have time to do’ and actually do them! Paint that picture, rearrange your living room … journal your experience of the current situation. DO SOMETHING FOR YOU.
4.This isn’t forever
Remind yourself that this is just the current situation and not a forever situation. Health officials have put measures in place to slow down the rate of infection to ease pressures off our AMAZING health care system to ensure it works to full effect for those who need it. It’s time we came together (figuratively speaking) and thought about those who will be most impacted and most as risk then plan our actions around them.
5. Remember you are not alone.
Most of what I have suggested actually keeps you connected with the outside world and doing for others when able to can really help our own mental health and wellbeing. You aren’t alone, everybody is also feeling the depths of uncertainty and we are all in this together. Reduce screen time if it triggers your anxiety, limit conversations about Coronavirus if it makes you feel worse, watch feel good TV and listen to happy music and contact a mental health professional if you feel you need further support – there is always someone to listen to you.