Isolation, endless queues, food shortages and no toilet paper . . . Wedding plans in tatters . . . Holiday plans now but a distant dream . . . Christmas 2019 already seems like a far cry away . . . Was that your last big family gathering? Did you have big plans for 2020? How is that New Year's resolution list going? . . . Who could have predicted that?
The truth is, no one could . . . And equally, no one can really tell you when things will get back to normal, or, indeed, if they ever will get back to normal . . . This being said, there is no need for panic. The new normal will be a better world.
If you suffer from anxiety or stress because of the unknown and the uncertainty in which we live in, here are some tips to start feeling better:
Stop focusing on what you can’t control . . .
In a world of fake news and scaremongering, it is hard to achieve the balance between staying informed and consuming utter rubbish. Wrong information can be very dangerous and lead to undesirable outcomes. There are some steps you can take to make sure that you control what you read, see and hear:
· Don’t read the news obsessively. It’s on TV. It’s on our phones, and it’s all over the place. In fact it is quite difficult to avoid. Avoiding it all together is not healthy. Selecting reliable sources that will present facts and checked evidence will allow you to make the right decisions.
· Choose reliable sources. Facebook and other social media platforms offer very dangerous sources of information. People can post whatever they like. It is based on opinions, and nobody is working in the background to check the facts . . . With the advent of Photoshop, everything is seemingly possible. I could say that there was a unicorn on the runway in Manchester last week!
· Beware of what you read and share on social media. Equally important, be conscious of what you share and send to others on social media. It can offend some people, and they may react in a way that upsets you. Also, you could be contributing to a problem by spreading something that is fake and unchecked. In these difficult times, keeping a low profile on social media may just be a good idea! If friends or family keep sending you or sharing information that stresses you, don’t hesitate to tell them!
· Step away from the media if you feel overwhelmed. Just switch off! Walk away! Leave your phone in the house and go for a quick walk around if you can. Get some fresh air and think about something you look forward to. What keeps you going? What motivates you? What makes you smile?
· Don’t speculate over what will happen. We all have that friend or relative that knows it all, can predict what will happen next and has the perfect explanation to why this is all happening . . . Again, the truth is, no one really knows much . . . So don’t take those speculators too seriously, and don’t indulge in thinking about it either . . .
Instead, just focus on what you can control.
There is no need to try and search the internet for when the pandemic will end or when things will go back to normal. There are no answers to these questions, and you have no control over it. Just like you have no control over what your neighbours or people decide to do in order to deal with things. So take a few steps back and think about the things you can control.
· You can keep yourself and your family safe. We know that washing your hands is the most effective way to avoid being contaminated. You can make sure that you and your family adopts good life hygiene. You can follow all the latest medical advice and avoid unnecessary outings.
· This doesn’t mean you have to stop your social life. It is crucially important to stay connected! Look at your phone book. Is there a friend or relative you meant to call or chat to but just never found the time? You have an opportunity to reconnect, and by doing that you may just make a difference to their day and their state of mind. The likelihood is that most people around you feel exactly the same as you do. Try not to let COVID-19 take over all your conversations though!
· Try to have a routine. Without fixating on it, having a routine can help you feel in control and bring back some needed normality in your life. Make time for the things you enjoy. Have a walk if you can. Be flexible and don’t let change become a source of frustration. Make time for activities that you enjoy, or try something you have never tried before . . . Maybe knitting is more fun than it seems?
· Be kind to yourself. Make time for sport or a physical activity. Even 10 minutes a day can make a difference. Take time to cook for yourself and eat a balanced diet. Treat yourself as well. But whatever you do, don’t be harsh on yourself. It is okay to feel anxious and scared.
And Finally, reach out for help . . .
This is a two-way street. We have never lived through times like these, and the chances are everyone around you is feeling the same as you. There is no shame or embarrassment in feeling scared. Reach out to someone for help, and you might just end up helping them out as well . . . Make a difference.
Good sources of information:
Are you struggling to adapt to the new world we live in due to COVID-19? Get in touch − we would love to help.