Unless you’ve been living under a rock you would know the Carona Virus is on our doorstep. Day by day the world we knew (and probably took for granted!) is changing.
And now, more than ever, we need to be maintaining our mental health. I don’t want to be alarmist. I don’t want to add to your stress or fears. But I do want you to understand the possible implications of NOT looking after your mental health during this time…
Poor parenting choices
Extreme isolation and loneliness
I could go on because mental health and mental WELLNESS impact every single facet of our daily lives. It’s that serious.
But what to do? Where to start? What to prioritise?
Read on and, as always, start with what feels right for you!
Stop and take a breather
These times are like no other. There is no guide. There are no instructions. We have to navigate this Carona Virus journey ourselves. So… EVERY single day… stop and just sit. Have a cup of tea or turn on your favourite music. Look out the window or better still, go outside and get some fresh air. Notice the world around you. The sound of the birds. The beat of the music. The flavour of the tea. Get out of your head and into your senses by being still. The power of mindfulness is drastically underestimated.
Be grateful for what you DO have
Despite what is being lost to lock down, we still have plenty. We have our homes. Families. Friends. Technology. Netflix! Yummy food to eat. Home offices to work in. Books to read. Recipes to try. Online shopping to do. Music to dance to. There is SO MUCH we still have… so much more than we need. We just need to focus on it! Gratitude makes what you have enough.
Tune into your limits
If listening to all the news coverage about Carona worries you more - TURN IT OFF! Get your information elsewhere… even if you have to rely on another adult to keep you informed on changes to isolation restrictions. If chatting with friends about Carona stresses you out – CHANGE THE SUBJECT! (Politely!). Let people know you would rather not talk about it. Some people like to know to all and others like to know very little. Either way we need to be respecting each other’s boundaries.
Use Social Media for good
If ever there was a time for being grateful for technology now is it! It’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of social media but really right now, in this crazy time, social media will save us. It will allow us to communicate with friends, keep working from home, get news updates, make videos to share with the world, learn things and get support. Now is not a time for whinging online. Sure, discuss challenges and reach out to others but let’s keep it positive. Let’s follow the inspirational people and pages. Let’s share the stories of good will, triumph and ingenuity. Social media should never be part of a pathway to self-sabotage.
Accept the fact that you cannot do it all
Read that one again. And again. Draw strength from knowing that no one has it all ‘together’ in this fluid world we currently trying to adapt to. People everywhere are trying to sort finances, housing, health, employment, schooling and parenting. Our new status-quo will require us to band together and find new ways. Almost everyone will be seeking support in some way. So reach out. Don’t let your pride get in the way. Take comfort in the fact that many others will be making the same appointments and the same desperate phone calls. A problem shared is a problem halved!
Routine works for some but not for others
Are you someone who thrives on routine? Great. Stick to your routine if you can but be prepared to be flexible as things unfold further. The more rigid you are the more impact you’ll feel. Not someone who thrives with routine? That’s great too! Right now you need to do what works for you and your family and that could change from day to day. Remember to focus on what IS possible, not on what isn't.
Use positive language as much as possible
Ok this does suck… we all know that. I, just like the next person, will miss my soy chai latte at my favourite local café. I’ll miss being able to work in peace without my kids asking for a snack every 86 seconds. But I’ll be ok and so will you! If we use positive language we take positive action. If we use negative, depressing language we will sit and stew. Just remember that. Negative, deflating language gives problems POWER and reason to linger longer.
Have some alone time
Let’s call it - sometimes family members can get really annoying! Especially when you’re stuck at home with them 24 hours a day under the most un-natural circumstances ever known! It’s normal to want personal space and time out… even from the tiniest members of the family. Right now you definitely need to get your dose of daily isolation within the isolation. Obviously what this looks like will vary greatly from family to family but regardless... it’s important to seek it out. Having some alone time will allow you to decompress and enjoy something just for yourself, whatever that is.
Set limits on your negative thoughts and worrying
Whether you experience worry, negative thoughts, or both it's important to set yourself limits. Allow yourself time to acknowledge them but give yourself a limit. It might sound ridiculous but saying something like this might help… “Ok, I’m going to let this stuff in for 10 minutes then I’m getting up and moving on”. By giving these thoughts and worries less attention their power and ability to upset you is taken away.
Don’t panic buy, prepare buy
Panic feeds anxiety and anxiety feeds depression. So stop. Breathe…. and try to relax. If you must shop, buy what you normally would and add just ONE extra of each where appropriate and allowed. The key to getting through this is to consider others. To tap into our empathy and to regard the needs of others as equal to ours. When we deplete the shelves of stock we prevent another family from having what they need.
So there you have it… 10 ways to maintain your mental health during the Carona Virus.
I hope these tips help you get through what will likely be our toughest year yet. Remember, when it comes to mental health, small daily changes often have the biggest impact on your overall sense of wellness and ability to cope with present challenges. If you do nothing else tomorrow start with implementing just one thing off this list.
If you would like some mental health support during this time I am here for you and able to book you a session within the week. You can learn more about She services here. If you would like more information on the Corona Virus and the implications for Australians you can get that here.
Take care of yourself, and then others.
Until next week…
Yours in better mental health,
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Erica has a passion for Women’s Health. She works with women who want to be heard, supported and empowered! Erica is a survivor of many life experiences. A Mum. A travel lover. A green thumb in training and an eternal optimist!