Coping During Coronavirus
Coronavirus means some major (but temporary) lifestyle changes for all of us, including more time indoors, limiting social contact and different ways of working. Uncertainty is hard to handle, and it can be tough to stay upbeat, but there are things we can do to help ourselves and others get through the weeks ahead and be ready for the bounce back once life returns to normal. Read these helpful suggestions for coping during coronavirus from experts, self-isolators and happy hibernators.
Go easy on yourself
With the pandemic dominating news and conversations, it’s natural to feel anxious. This is an odd time, something new that we could not have predicted. So, don’t feel bad for feeling bad. However, it will end, and the world will go back to normal. If you’re worried or low, reach out to your support network and let’s remind each other to look after our physical and mental health.
It’s also really important to take time to slow down, relax, sleep, and do nothing for a bit if that’s what you want. Whilst well-meaning people (including us!) may bombard you with suggestions to fill your days doing weird and wonderful stuff, don’t feel pressurised… you don’t have to do ANYTHING, or you can do things your way, you’re in control.
Silver linings – have a positive perspective
Try to view this as a different period of time, not just a bad one, even if it was forced upon us rather than chosen. Consciously think how you can make best of the situation.
For once, most of us will have the luxury of time; use it to reflect on what you really want both professionally and for life in general. Focus also on what you have now and what you are grateful for.
Know some good will come out of all this – we’re seeing a recalibration of values and what really matters, travel restrictions mean less pollution, there’s a resurgence of community spirit and many heart-warming acts of kindness. People in China’s lockdown talk of discovering new interests, reconnecting with family and the return of blue skies.
Take care of yourself
Looking after your physical and mental health is the top priority right now and will put you in a better position to support other people. Try to eat nutritious, well-balanced meals, limit unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, relax and enjoy yourself!
We might be physically isolating, but we’re social creatures and it’s hugely important to stay connected. So, plan to call one or two friends or family every day for a proper catch up; it will raise their spirits, and yours.
Have some fun, virtually. All round the globe people are finding ingenious ways to be together apart, using social media and digital platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Instagram etc. From book clubs and games nights to happy hours and choirs, it’s all happening online!
Photo: Sofa Singers virtual choir – Positive News
‘We’re standing far apart now so we can embrace each other later’
Quote circulating in Italy
Help others (it will also make you feel better)
‘Caremongering’ is an uplifting new trend arising from the pandemic.
Part of our anxiety stems from feeling powerless but doing kind deeds for others gives us a sense of purpose and helps our own mental health and wellbeing. Whether it’s donating to food banks, shopping for neighbours, volunteering in the community or just lending a sympathetic ear, there is plenty you can do to help more vulnerable people.
Community support groups:
Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK – list of local support groups
Follow the news, but take breaks
It’s obviously important to stay informed, as the situation and corresponding advice is constantly changing. But there’s loads of misinformation and scaremongering that just fuels fear. So be discerning about what you read, watch and post.
- Stick to trustworthy sources (e.g. GOV.UK, NHS, BBC).
- Be careful what you share, to avoid spreading rumours or panic.
- Limit how often you check news updates or scroll down social media. Turn off notifications, so you’re not bombarded with headlines as soon as you pick up your phone. It’s essential to escape, have a laugh, enjoy conversations and home in on other things going on in our lives.
Focus on the things you can control
Worrying about circumstances beyond our control just makes us feel anxious and achieves nothing. Shift your attention to what is in your power e.g.
- You can take steps to reduce your personal risk (and how you might spread it to others) by following the official guidelines on hygiene, social distancing etc.
- You can help other people by checking on friends, family and neighbours, or volunteering.
- You can use your time keeping mentally and physically fit, planning activities you enjoy and preparing for the return of normal life.
Plan what you can
To retain a sense of normality and purpose, stick to a daily routine as best you can – one that prioritises looking after yourself and those close to you.
Plan useful and fun activities, good films/TV to watch, people to call, fit in regular exercise and relaxation techniques, and aim to keep your normal sleeping and eating patterns. If you’re working from home, stick to a schedule with regular breaks.
Keep a diary or journal in whatever format you prefer – notes, bullet points, vlog etc. It can really help to jot down your thoughts and feelings, but also good to be able to reflect on this surreal chapter once it is over.
Try to use some of this time productively, and set a few goals:
- Get cracking with that To Do list – we all love crossing things off!
- Tidy and declutter, it’s good for our mental health! Do a digital declutter too – clear your desktop, follow/unfollow people, alter privacy settings etc.
- If you’re jobhunting, be ready for when recruitment takes off again – think about what you’d really like to do, perfect your CV and social profile, start networking while people might have more time to respond and help.
- Challenge yourself – learn a language, take a short online course or become a MasterChef – well, learn to cook anyway 😉
It’s a very strange time, but it will have its benefits. Stay safe and well. Happy hibernating!