For all of us, the fear of this unprecedented pandemic is very real, but somehow [to me] feels very unreal, despite my medical background. Personally, it resembles the horrific ‘War of the Worlds’ 3 legged, one eyed Martian, getting closer and closer, slowly advancing to attack us in our homes and communities. Whatever the image, conflicting and unclear advice, rapidly changing guidance and the influence of 24/7 social media can have a cumulative effect on our emotions, often detrimental, sometimes inflating and exacerbating our fears as illustrated by my own irrational visualisation of this situation.
Health fears, food security, cashflow, job security – indeed ability to work at all - futures…. each of us is affected to varying degrees depending on our circumstances and possibly our previous experiences. Simple self-care ways of maintaining our wellbeing can, at least help us to ‘keep on keeping on’.
Keep in touch with others – phone, email, Skype, local community Facebook groups.
strong>Keep up to date with the news, but limit your exposure as it can become upsetting if heard repeatedly – this includes social media [Facebook, Snap Chat etc that often contain utter rubbish] and stick to reliable, un-sensational sources such as BBC News. I avoid the 10 o’clock news just before I go to bed.
Keep active – we are currently allowed to go out for walks, walk our dogs [mindful of social distancing], get into the garden/onto the balcony and do some weeding or tidying, dig out that Davina DVD that has gathered dust for months! This can also help with sleep.
Keep eating healthily as you can – our brains need good fuel – five a day veggies don’t necessarily need to be fresh – frozen or tinned are good for us too – include foods that contain Omega 3 [oily fish, soya-based foods, eggs and avocados. Try to avoid [or reduce] processed or ready-made foods. Of course, this may change as food distribution alters as the crisis unfolds.
More advice here: https://www.mindcharity.co.uk/wellbeing-article/food-and-mood/
Keep well hydrated – water flavoured with slices of lemon or lime, tea and coffee are fine in moderation [think of the unhelpful jitters from too much caffeine] and reduce alcohol intake as it affects the kidneys and livers’ ability to process toxins.
Keep to your normal routine as far as you can – get up and go to bed at your usual time – stick to your normal bedtime rituals – or try having a warm bath and a hot milky drink before bed if you’re struggling with sleep at the moment. Mindfulness Apps can also help, or relaxing music. For example: https://www.headspace.com/
Keep yourself stimulated – if you’re in isolation get reading those books or articles you never have time for, write – jotting down thoughts and observations can be cathartic [and make interesting reading in the months to come!] Finish knitting that cardigan or craft project – or try something new! All distract us from our worries and use our time productively.
Keep setting small, achievable daily goals – whether to tackle your sock drawer, tidy out and clean the fridge or have a pleasurable long bath – little achievements can cumulatively build and improve our wellbeing.
Keep on keeping on!
The [US] Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has some good wellbeing tips
Facts on the virus for the trusted NHS source