IT’S NOT OVER YET!
TIPS TO DEAL WITH COVID RELATED STRESS
I wanted to write this blog mainly in response to the ongoing pandemic we’re all going through at the moment. It’s mainly also a reaction to the surge in cases and fatalities we are currently experiencing in Mauritius, where I currently live. It felt as though many of us had put our guard down for a while, and that it was safe to ‘go back in the water’. That was certainly not the case as we are currently seeing the worst effects of the pandemic since it began.
Now this blog is certainly not a guide to what we can/can’t, should/shouldn’t do to avoid this virus, but I strongly feel that some of the tips I will share certainly interlink with this idea. No doubt, our physical health has taken priority at the moment: washing hands, carrying some sort of hand sanitiser, wearing masks, physical distancing etc. But we must not be neglecting our mental health either. We never should be anyway at any time if we can help it, but at this time, it has become more important than either to remember this.
I do hope that if you are reading this in the not-so-distant future, that this blog will no longer be relevant to a pandemic, and that these tips can just be used for everyday stress.
So, here are 6 tips to help you deal with COVID-19 related stress.
1. STAY CONNECTED
It has become more important than ever to have and maintain our social connections. Now, no doubt, the term ‘social-distancing’ will appear in the next version of the any dictionary (if it’s not there already!) as it’s become part and parcel of everyday conversation. But it’s not really ‘social’ distancing that’s the issue, is it? So, let’s tweak the ‘social’ to ‘physical’ instead.
Now I am not saying go around to your friends or family frequently for a cup of tea and a chat, but do keep in contact in any way possible, which holds less risk to your personal health. Telephone, video calling, meeting up (responsibly) once in a while, maintain the physical restrictions when meeting others. We are social beings, and so are generally not good at being isolated.
So, try to take your usual (but safe!) dose of socialising to maintain that contact, in a world where ‘isolation’ has also become part and parcel of everyday conversation.
2. STICK TO THE FACTS
That just came to my mind as I started to write this section. Well, that sort of says it all, I think!
We are constantly be bombarded with all sorts of stories about the virus. To the numbers we are seeing in the news, to speaking casually to a friend, who is speaking about someone they know, who knows someone else who suffered from XYZ after taking so and so vaccine!
So, be careful about how much information you are taking in as it is so easy to absorb and focus on all the negative things happening. This is not to say we should turn a blind eye, or a deaf ear, as it were, to what we are being told. It is important to be aware of what the facts are, and what current restrictions are. However, try to limit this intake of news to reliable news sources only, and not to, what can sometimes be described as, gossip on the street.
3. LOOK AFTER YOUR BODY
So, as mentioned before, our physical health has undoubtedly become our priority. I am now hearing on Mauritian radio different remedies, mainly herbal teas, to help boost the immune system. And this can certainly be part of it. So, when speaking about looking after the body, I am referring to also maintaining a healthy diet. It is easy, especially when under stress and duress, to either under or over eat. In the heat, as we are experiencing in Mauritius, we feel very lethargic, and feel a constant loss of energy and may not feel up to making wholesome food. In the cold, if you live in the UK, we may indulge in a lot of comfort foods, which may not always be the healthiest.
Cooking may also have other hidden advantages, like keeping active, becoming creative with what you cook, on top of actually consuming good food.
Also, speaking about keeping active, this is another way to look after your body. Try to keep active in any way you can. Even when isolating or staying indoors as safety measure, maybe trying yoga, simple cardio exercises, or even dancing around listening to your favourite music will help you boost your mood!
4. DO THINGS YOU ENJOY
So, again linking from the point above about boosting your mood, do things that make you happy. Indulge in hobbies and pastimes that you are either used to doing, or perhaps explore new possible things you might enjoy.
This will not only keep you occupied, but may provide a gateway to news things to indulge in your life. So many people have discovered new hobbies whilst being in lockdown, and even made them into small businesses. At the moment, as we are not in any lockdown (as of writing this blog!), we can expand on new potential interests to indulge in, and not just making banana bread!
4. BE PRESENT
Or be mindful. With everything happening around us, worrying about the future is happening more naturally than before, what with working from home, home schooling, potential financial instability and employment issues to name a few, stressing about the future is not unnatural, or even a bad thing. However, living in the future can be.
Focus on what is in your control right now and work on that. Not to get into religion, but one of my favourite thoughts originates from the Bhagavad Gita; it revolves about doing what you can, and not worrying about the
results. Focusing on the now, the good, the ‘what we have’ can be a good way of seeing things, instead of focusing on the ‘what might happen’ and the negative.
In today’s world, doing what we can involves taking safety precautions for both us and other around us. If something were to happen despite doing this, then deal with it when you get to that bridge.
6. TALK TO SOMEONE
Communicating to others about how we feel is always important. But like many things at the moment, the importance of this has certainly magnified. Our mental health initially took a back seat as things started to change so quickly, and we were forced on thinking about how to keep ourselves self from a seemingly unforgiving and relentless virus. Our brain and body were occupied in keeping us safe and alive.
However, as life slowly began to change, and we started to shift into the ‘new normal’, this transition phase came with either new anxieties, or brought to surface existing ones. Suddenly, we didn’t have our regular support network for help, and even still, they would be dealing with their own issues. And we felt alone with our thoughts and fears about the future.
So, as the situation is not how it was a year ago, (and fingers crossed it won’t be again!), we have still been left with the consequences of the threats we faced and fears we experienced, and are still very much experiencing today.
So, communicating to others how we are feeling, whether if it is just to unburden ourselves in the moment, or to address more serious issues, has become so vital to be able to look after ourselves today.
Luckily, to adapt to the new changes, professional help has also become more accessible than it has ever been, so help is not far, and you don’t need to suffer alone.
So, if COVID-19 has raised some issues for you that you would like to address, contact me today on:
or you can go to the Contact Form.
Thanks for reading!