‘We’re standing far apart now so we can embrace each other later’
Something to keep in the back of your mind while we tackle this pandemic together. Whether you’re working from home, self-isolating or continuing to work in an eerily quiet workplace, the Coronavirus has had an impact on us all. At CES we have always been keen to promote the importance of looking after your mental health and we recognise that now more than ever is a time to be doing this. We have put together some tips and tricks to help navigate us all through these challenging times and keep a positive mindset.
Don’t obsess over the news
It’s incredibly easy to get sucked into the news, refreshing newsfeeds, getting bogged down in endless WhatsApp threads of conversation with depressing statistics and popping on to the BBC news site at least ten times a day. It is important to stay informed but ensure this is a reliable source such as the World Health Organisation https://www.who.int/ or a dependable news source (some of those tabloids really aren’t there to put your mind at rest). Make sure you limit how often you check the news, perhaps twice a day is sensible. Step away from social media since this is where you will find less trustworthy sources of information and a lot of scaremongering. Equally be mindful over what you are sharing with people, there’s a lot of literature out there and much of it has been sensationalised to hook you guys in.
Focus on what you can control
In a time that feels uncertain, scouring the internet for answers regarding how long the pandemic will last etc, is not going to help and you will end up lost down a google rabbit-hole and find no conclusive answer which will leave you feeling even more anxious. Instead, follow the guidance of what you can control and help reduce the risks for you and your family. You’ve heard it time and time again but these are the steps that you can control: Wash your hands regularly using soap and running water for at least 20seconds, avoid touching your face, stay at home and socially distance. Plan for what you can to help you feel in control, whether that be popping on Amazon and buying their full stock of colouring books to keeps the kids occupied whilst they’re off school (sorry, I mean being home-schooled). Perhaps planning an at-home date night for the wife (I’m sure you can cook a three course meal using a lemon, tin of beans and a random jar of chutney) or get cracking on that DIY project that you’ve been putting off for months (your wife says two years but that’s a bit of an exaggeration). Focusing your mind of other controllable elements is incredibly good for keeping you positive.
As humans we are hardwired to seek connection and are ultimately social creatures. Loneliness is certainly an issue at this time and can lead to anxiety. It is incredibly important to stay in touch with others particularly if you know someone lives alone or is classed as vulnerable. Zoom has seen a huge increase in downloads as everyone does those four ways calls between mums, brothers, sisters and aunts (zoom can actually accommodate up to 100 people on a video call). In fact, I myself will be getting involved in drinks and a quiz between 15 of my friends on Saturday evening, why not set one up with your mates too? Skype, facetime, video calls on WhatsApp, whatever you use it’ll keep you connected and put a smile on everyone’s faces. Social media is also a great way to maintain those social links but do be mindful of how much you are consuming and how it makes you feel. When you are having these conversations over your preferred app be aware not to let the ‘C-word’ take over conversation instead make sure you are laughing, sharing stories and focusing on other things going on in your life or look to the future and start planning that amazing holiday you and the family will take next year.
Take care of you
Whilst you may be checking in on your elderly Mum or Dad, home-schooling the kids and attempting to work from home, it is important to check in with you and look after yourself. Whilst it may be easily to wallow in a pit of chocolate, crisps and biccies, try to eat healthily. Of course, the odd treat doesn’t hurt, why not have that glass of red on Friday night or treat yourself to a take-away on Saturday, as long as you’re not using this as a way to deal with the situation, it’s fine to have a little of what you fancy. Perhaps you-time means reading a book or magazine, playing board games, getting into a new Netflix series, playing a video game, baking, running around with the kids in the garden or even having a bath. Whatever gives you that time to switch off and relax, it is important to prioritise this. Sleep is also hugely important, while you may be working from home don’t get stuck in a late to bed, late to rise routine (too much binge-watching Netflix I’m guessing), a good night’s sleep will really boost your mood and maintaining a good routine is also positive; much as working in your pjs is tempting it is important to maintain a sense of normality and that includes something as simple as getting dressed. Whilst we need to remain socially distanced, it is important to get outside, get some fresh and vitamin D even if it is just sticking your head out the window or door. Exercise will also give you a great burst of endorphins which will really benefit so even if it is joining in with the kids doing Joe Wickes PE lesson, get stuck in!
Though we have seen the worst in human nature in this Pandemic such as those that would rugby tackle a stranger in Tesco for the last pack of Andrex, there is also a great deal of kindness to be coming out of this time since we are all in this together. It’s a win-win situation really since if you help others, it not only gives them a lift but also gives you a boost too. With a great deal of anguish arising from feeling powerless over the Pandemic, kind acts can help you regain control. This could be simple things like shopping for your elderly neighbour or even just giving them a call. Or why not get back to old fashioned letters, kids that are cooped up at home would absolutely love to receive a letter and give them something to keep them occupied as they reply. Particularly charities also are feeling the extra pressure such as Age UK (loneliness amongst the elderly is a real issue currently https://www.ageuk.org.uk/) or Mind which of course supports mental health. Mind also have further resources that support reducing your anxiety at this time, check it out https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/. There is also a brilliant list of random acts of kindness during this time that could just make someone smile, take a look here https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/random-acts-kindness
Remember we are all in this together and everyone will have a different way of dealing with things, there is no right or wrong way, just keep talking, stay connected and stay safe.