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Mentally Surviving a Global Pandemic

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I’m sure you’re well aware that we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic as a result of Covid-19. It is a challenging time for everyone. Whether you are a frontline or essential worker, someone who is isolating due to being classed as vulnerable or you are simply doing the right thing and only going out for essential reasons, social distancing and isolation can take its toll on our mental health. As humans, we are social creatures, many of us thrive and rely on social interaction in our daily lives. In the absence of our usual social experiences and increased anxiety and uncertainty, that comes with the presence of a global pandemic, our minds can become vulnerable leading to a decline in our mental state. The important thing is that we become aware of our own mental vulnerability and take time to practice self-care and allow our minds time to rest and reset. So, whether you are working now more than ever, or you are at home feeling like you have nothing to do, here are five simple self-care tips that are time adjustable and can be done almost anywhere.

Turn off Social Media

Although social media can be helpful in keeping up-to-date with vital news and communicating with loved ones near and far during this crisis, it can also be a confusing place filled with fake news, scare mongering and stories that seem to become more tragic every day. This is not good for the soul. I don’t mean turn off social media completely but limit your time on checking the latest news statistics to twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening) and then, try not to click into articles with sensationalised headlines, only rely on genuine sources such as official government websites.

Meditation

During this time with everyone only talking about one thing, it is important to allow yourself time to quieten your mind, even if only for a few minutes. There are plenty of online videos providing guided meditation that range anywhere from five minutes to one hour long. In the morning, on your lunch or tea break or just before you go to bed, find a quiet space, put in your headphones and follow a quick guided meditation. Doing this regularly, even if only for five minutes a day, allows your mind to relax and take a much-needed break from stressors in your environment.  These are two of my favourite apps:

Podcasts

There are now podcasts available to us online, covering almost any subject you can think of. The great thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them anywhere and they can occupy your mind by allowing you to focus on something other than the current crisis. Most of us are aware this is increasingly difficult as the pandemic develops, but it is important for our mental health so that the torrents of information we are receiving don’t consume and overwhelm us. So, ask your friends for recommendations and find an uplifting, humorous, self-care or anecdotal podcast, to occupy your mind and deter overthinking and decrease feelings of worry and panic. Below are some of my recommendations;
Humor
Mental Health

Write

Writing can be an excellent way of offloading your inner most worries and thoughts. Often when our minds are racing and going down the rabbit hole of panic and dread, writing down every thought, no matter how irrational you may think it is, can allow us to see our worries straight in front of us and tackle each one at a time. Even after a particularly stressful situation at home or in the work place, writing allows you time to reflect on the situation and then move on, or to leave your feelings on the page so you can come back and reflect at a later stage. When the worries are racing around our heads, they can seem huge and unmanageable, but once they are laid out on paper, they each have their own physical space to occupy and you can address them without feeling like your head might explode.

Talk

In caring for our mental health, talking is one of the most important components in keeping our minds healthy. You may feel due to social distancing this is harder for you now, but thanks to technology, there are multiple ways of staying in contact with your friends and family. Talk to them about your worries, tell them how you are coping and what support you might need from them from a distance. If you feel this isn't an option for you, there are now many online apps that provide video call counselling sessions with a professional counsellor who you can make appointments with just as if you were going to a session in a clinic. Also, talk to your employer and share your concerns. Most work places already have free counselling services in place to assist any employee who may need them. If you don’t have access to free services, check out the below counselling providers:


Yes, this is a very uncertain time in our lives, it is scary, overwhelming and can feel never ending. But it is important to remember that this is temporary, this is not forever, this will end, and we can make it through this if we continue to support each other and uplift one another, even if this is from a distance. Reach out to your friends, colleagues and loved ones, share your feelings and remind each other that you are not alone in this. 

All we need is hope, and for that, we have each other” - Andra Day
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