Curb and Crunch the COVID19 madness
Are you a frontline Key Worker? Are you going crazy in isolation? Need to look for some calmness right now?
We are currently in the middle of a pandemic that the majority of us have never experienced anything like it.
FIRST AND FOREMOST TAKE CARE AND BE SAFE!
As we watched the news from afar, never did we think that COVID19 would spread from China, to the UK and the rest of the world. As the government brought in rules and regulations to protect the citizens of this country; our daily lives as we know it, for the most of us changed. As fear and panic began to spread, on Monday the 23rd March, the Prime Minister set out 'Lockdown' procedures that we have to abide by. It seems to have effected everyone in more ways than one, but at least we all know how individuals feel, as were going through it together. There is no right or wrong way to feel about this situation.
From social isolation to working on the front line, the mental health challenges of the pandemic are wide reaching. With thousands of people dying everyday, half on the world's population isolating, many people are facing a massive impact to their health everyday. The actions many of us of have had to take to curb this virus, has resulted in many of us facing redundancies, lack of childcare, separation from family and friends and other health fears. For other people, it has meant working on the frontline to fight this virus, dealing with traumatic experiences, making tough decisions and working with the virus face on.
Whilst this is going on, a lot of us have already lost important coping strategies for stressful situations such as; distancing themselves from friends and family, enduring disruption in their routine, no social interaction and not doing things to get them out of the house.
First and foremost, a massive thank you to all the key workers who are out there working everyday and keeping this country going. You maybe experiencing some difficult and stressful feelings right now if you're going into work and these can be new feelings or similar ones that you've experienced in the past. These feelings can be extremely difficult if they are completely new and you don't know how to make sense of them, especially if you're around people who don't have this experience of going into work. If you are around people going through a similar experience you could have different feelings about it too.
I'm so sorry if you're struggling right now but you can reach out to someone. We're all in this together and there is no right or wrong way to feel.
You might feel stressed about going into work during the COVID19 outbreak. This may feel particularly stressful if you come into contact with a lot of people, including those who are suffering with the virus. If you're feeling stressed already feeling because of the outbreak, this could be heightened if you have more work to do or you are doing lot's of overtime. At work you could be stressed about having the correct PPE alongside working with patients who are ill.
If you start to feel overwhelmed by stress, it may lead to mental health problems like anxiety and depression, or it could make existing mental health problems worse. You might feel some of the effects of stress right away, but other effects could take longer to notice, including after the stressful event has ended.
You could be worried and anxious about your health, contracting the virus and about others health around you (people you live with) and unintentionally spreading it to them.
You may feel uncertain about keeping your job or worried about money.
You feel constantly anxious about going to work and what the day will bring. Your role could of changed or your job now requires a lot more from you that you are worried you may not fulfil.
If you are going into public spaces and working on the frontline with coronavirus patients you maybe worried about spreading the virus to others if you catch it. You may feel guilty about sending your children to school whilst you are at work and they're around other people.
You could feel guilty that you're not doing enough and you may want to do more. You may feel responsible to take up more shifts and work over-time. Or, you could feel guilty that you don't feel like that and enjoy your time off at home. Your response maybe different to those around you and you may feel guilty that you don't have the same feeling as them.
You maybe feeling angry at having to work in an environment where you are exposed to coronavirus and could potentially catch it. Moreover, your anger could come from not having enough PPE to protect yourself and your colleagues.
There could be major changes at your workplace that anger you or you feel unsupported and you don't know to express it. Anger can also effect others around you, not just yourself, but it is healthy emotion and it only becomes a problem when it gets out of control.
**Be kind to yourself. Have a look at some practical advice and ways to help your mental health and well-being below.
Everyone has had to completely change their 'normal' routine and way of life since the end of March.
It has been very tough to adapt too and to find your way through this madness. I'm so sorry if you're struggling right now but you can reach out to someone. We're all in this together and there is no right or wrong way to feel.
Remember this situation is temporary, and for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass.
If you're staying at home and indoors a lot more, here is some practical advice on how to get through it. This information can help you if: you're feeling worried or anxious about corona virus, staying at home and following Government advice, or your self-isolating due to either yourself or someone you live with has symptoms.
Through out isolation, it is easier to binge on food and drink, but that's not always the best option. Remember to eat a balanced diet and keep hydrated. These are so important as they will regulate your blood sugar levels, mood and energy levels. If you are isolating, you can ask loved ones to drop packages off for you or get a food delivery service from your local supermarket.
Keep taking your medication, as the doctors surgery are still open, you maybe able to get them delivered or just pick them up from a pharmacy. Be careful about buying medication online though. The NHS website has lots of information about this.
Please continue to keep accessing support and treatment during this time. You can still have appoints via online, text or phone. Please speak to you therapist if you are struggling with not seeing them face-to-face. (If you would like to speak to me for a session please Contact Me.)
Now that were all spending a load more time at home, try to keep your surroundings tidy, although this will be different for different people. An idea would be to discuss with your household members, if your comfortable in certain rooms or how to use certain spaces. Cleaning the house, doing laundry and washing yourself are important ways to keep yourself clean and to stop germs spreading. On the other hand, utility bills may rise, so have a think about to keep them steady or speak to your energy provider to see if there's anything they can do.
Find ways that work for you to work and study from home. Where it's possible you can work from home, you may find it particular hard to get used to or get motivated. Asking employers for certain technology you need or if there is any policies in place. Try find an area that it is acceptable for you to work and feel comfortable with. It maybe difficult to switch off if your trying to work and relax in the same environment. Try to balance your work with caring for your children who would normally be in nursery or school. Also try to reduce the amount you or your child spends online or social media. However if this is difficult, try get them to listen to a podcast, an activity or a quiz with their friends online instead.
Here are some tips to support your Health and Wellbeing during this crisis:
Hand Washing and Anxiety - Some mental health problems can cause difficulty with thoughts and behaviours due to hygiene and washing. If you're already struggling with this, listening to more advice can be hard. Please don't keep re-reading advice and let people know you're struggling with this. Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques could help you feel like you're more in control of this situation, here are some for you to have a look at: Breathe & Relax.
Set limits for washing your hands, keep at the twenty second limit. If you're struggling with this please get in touch me for a counselling session if you feel you are ready for to talk.
Connect with People - Whilst we are in this lockdown period it is so important to keep in touch with people and have some interaction. This could be phone calls, texting, Zoom, Facetime and social media. Talk to your trusted ones about how you're coping. Talk to your colleagues or line manager if you're struggling with work. If your loved ones don't have access to technology, send them letters, care packages, social distance in the garden, outside the window so they can see you and know they're not alone. Check in on your friends, family, neighbours, co-workers, key workers etc. WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER!
Decide on your Routine - This one, for me personally, has helped me get through isolation. I began getting so lost with eating and sleeping routines with not going out and doing my normal routine. I eventually set one, writing down in my diary what my plans are for the next day, even planning my meals too; this has helped me stick to getting up to an alarm everyday, eating well and keeping hydrated. A routine can help the family and especially those with Autism, who can keep a structure to follow and they know what is happening through out the day.
Try to Keep Active - Go outside to exercise! Use this as an opportunity to get out of the house, get that heart rate up, de-stress and change your surroundings. Not only does it affect your body in: lowering bloody pressure, managing and maintaining your weight, increased energy levels, reduce the risk of a heart attack. It also helps your mental health by: lifting your mood, improve sleep patterns and provides opportunity for social contact for people you're isolating with. On the other hand, there are a lot of workouts on social platforms that you can do from the comfort of your own home. You don't have to run or cycle for miles to get your heart rate up and you can get as sweaty as you want in your living room and no one will see you!
Get as much Sunlight, Fresh Air and Nature as you can - As stated in the paragraph above, if the weather is nice get outside for your daily exercise. Explore nearby parks and nature trails. Get out in the garden (wear sunscreen). It could be an idea to have meal breaks, maybe work outside, play games with your children or do some gardening. Even just opening the windows to get some fresh air through out the house can help reduce some stress and improve your mood. If you are completely isolating, look at pictures of nature, listen to animal and nature sounds and set pictures on your phone background to look at.
Find Ways to Spend your Time - Try having that spring clean you've been promising yourself and get that garage cleaned up. Now is a perfect time to sort through all your possessions, in your house or digitally going through all your files, sorting them out. You could also use this time to make time for others. Catch up properly with friends and family via phone calls or write emails and letters to them. Surprise them with a MoonPig card?
Find Ways to Relax and be Creative/Keep your Mind Stimulated - There are many ways that you can be present in the moment. Certain activities can help you do this like; meditation, yoga, mindfulness, colouring, writing, DIY, arts and crafts such as painting and reading. Furthermore, you can read books, magazines, do puzzles and quiz's. Online, they have lots of interesting audio books and podcasts, some places are even offering free e-books that you can use.
Take Care with News and Information - Although social platforms are a good way to keep in touch with each other. They can also provide false or inaccurate information, so be careful not to read too much into information as it may be unreliable. Use appropriate websites! Always get the up to date information which is located on the government's Website located at the end of this blog.
If you're Feeling Anxious - Connect with others, speak to the ones you trust and tell them whats on your mind. If you're feeling anxious about work, open up to your line manager and your colleagues to see what available support there is. There could be employee assistance programmes, counselling services, Mind or Samaritans etc. Please don't be ashamed of how you feel, it's okay to ask for help. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has more information on Anxiety & Coronavirus.
If You're Feeling Claustrophobic or Trapped - If you can, get outside for some fresh air for your daily exercise. If you're unable to do so then open your windows or sit on your doorstep or your garden and look up at the sky, this can help give you a sense of space. Another idea is do regularly change the room you spend time in so you're not spending all you time in one place.
Furthermore, domestic abuse has massively increased since the lockdown. Some charities have seen a 120% rise in calls! Please, find that strength from within yourself to reach out to a loved one, a charity, or 999. I know this can be extremely scary, especially if you have already tried to talk to someone.
Women's Aid (England)
Men's Advice Line
If you require anymore further information on COVID-19 please refer to the government website and guidelines at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus