With the World Health Organization declaring the COVID-19 outbreak to be a global pandemic it is likely that most of us are now self-isolating – whether we have contracted the virus and its symptoms, or not.
With cancelled plans, broken routines and an indefinite end, it is only natural to expereince any level of fear, stress and/or anxiety. However, it is important to rememeber that there are things we remain having control over, despite it seeming that everything is out of our hands. Living in a society obssesed with ‘instant gratifcation’ makes this time seem slow, unproductive and never-ending, but we are keen to change or alter this outlook. Consider the following scenarios and adapt them to your situation where appropriate, in order to change a mood or a mindset.
“I have more time to focus on my home and myself, or those directly around me”
While working from home is not possible for everyone, and sometimes those that are able to do not find it as productive as they would do in the office, let this be a learning curve – a change in perspective. Being sure to achieve something every day, a new skill, a task at work, sorting something out that you have never got round to, is a good way to ensure you maintain ‘a purpose’. Time has always been a property that we can never get back as individuals, and therefore, now more than ever, we should not be taking it for granted. The global situtation is out of your control, what remains within your control is not the outcome of what happens after all of this is over, but what you can achieve in the here and now. Spend time with your kids, focus on things you have always wanted to give more attention to, speak to friends who in a normal situation would be unreachable due to hectic and clashing schedules – find the good in a bad situation.
“By setting short terms goals I have a realistic aim”
In the long term, no one knows the outcome. No one knows the answer. Are you a world famous scientist, politician and globally known celebrity? Okay fine, maybe with a combination of those things you might really be able to find and enforce a solution. However, for most of us, this is not the case. By setting short term goals, you will find that you are achieving more. Long term goals will merely have a reverse affect where the outcome will eventually seem unachievable. Anything further than 2 weeks ahead may result in you setting yourself up for dissapointment and thus increasing your level sof stress and anxiety.
“Maintaining a level of routine will maintain a level of normality”
Especially for those with kids at home, keeping a routine will help you manage your own ‘focus time’ and ‘down time’ as well as those around you. Additionally, keeping to a simialr routine will aid transition back to normality following the isolation period. While it may be tempting to go to bed late or sleep in until the afternoon, these behaviours and lethargic lifestyle will leave you feeling de-motivated and contribute to a reduced serotonin levels. Staying active where possible, keeping household chores and activities to the same days and times will prevent a spiral into boredom and despair.
“Remain updated wihtout instilling fear in yourself and/or others”
With more time in the day, due to reduced travel or tasks that have now become restricted, there is more time left for ‘scrolling’. While it is good to take regular breaks from activities, we must be careful not to become obsessive over the coronavirus situation in this dead time. If you are keen to do your research, be sure to only choose credible sources and not conuslt the first result on Google. Equally, be aware that different individuals will have different levels of interest and variable coping strategies for the isolation period. Some may only want one update from their local radio station every morning while others will feel more at ease knowing the details of every research paper published. Whatever the case, be considerate of others and ensure that your chosen coping mechanism is not negatively impacting others. While the isolation period is a good opportunity to focus on yourself, we must also be careful to ensure this is not affecting others with adverse affects.
“There are services in place to help me as and when I need them”
Nowadays mental health is a much more widely acknowledged concern and there are plenty of outlets to unload your stress and anxieities. Whether you are lucky enough to be able to speak to friends and family or whether you need more professional advice there are many services on offer. Here at Carbon Blush we are offering Telephone Counselling with pschology professionals at a discounted price.
For other mental health helplines, please follow this link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/