What a year it has been – a year like no other, I’m sure you would agree.
Way back in March (which seems to so long ago now, right?) the idea of being locked in our own homes was a shock and quite frankly I cried when I watched the announcement. March is a tough time of the year for me anyway and this particular year was worse as the first anniversary of the death of my Mum imminent and the idea of not being able to visit and comfort a loved one at the end of their lives is traumatic beyond words.
Now lockdown and local restrictions have dragged on, almost 9 months on and off, and most of us have got over the initial shock but then didn’t you find that the days became weeks and now they are dragging into months? And the thought that social distancing is going to last until the end of 2020 and way into 2021 is, well let’s not think about it eh?
So how do we stop ourselves from falling into hopelessness and despair? I have given this much thought and have come up with 5 tips for coping with this unnatural position we currently find ourselves
Understand the meaning of world events
Stay physically active
Travel in your mind
1. Understanding the meaning of world events: The situation we find ourselves in is way out of our control. This virus is not visible, and we don’t know where it is lurking, supermarket aisles, on the bus, in the park. And that frightens us.
I have found that mindfulness has helped me to focus on the here and now. Being isolated causes anxiety in itself, so I have stopped watching the news, stopped fretting about what’s happening ‘out there’ and tried to focus on me and my life and what I can control, influence and achieve.
Please don’t think I have this all under control because I simply don’t! I have good days and I have seriously bad days, just like everyone else. But on a bad day I tell myself to just hang on in there. Yes I am probably suffering from pandemic fatigue, but then who isn’t?
We cannot really understand the meaning of world events right now. So focus on what you can understand, can comprehend and appreciate those things.
2. Cultivate friendships: Friendships benefit our mental and emotional health and are even more important when face-to-face connections are difficult. Using technology helps. You all use zoom now? WhatsApp video chat? Who knew eh?
But to have friends we need to be a friend – so appreciate them. Tell them you love them, write letters, old fashioned pen and paper - but how lovely is it to find a letter addressed to you sitting on the mat?! Posted through your front door and not your inbox!
3. Stay physically active: easier said than done when motivation and inclination is seriously lacking but it works – it does make us feel better and releases all sorts of beneficial hormones in our brains. I say this because it’s true – do I practice it? Rarely. Why? Because I’m lazy! Simple as!!
4. Travel in your mind: Ok so here come the pictures of beaches and places I have visited. But you know. If we can’t travel in reality because of lockdown – and who really wants to go on a plane with 200 random people who come from all over, with who knows what kind of germs in their system – then lets travel in our minds!
5. Eat cake: when all else fails then get baking, testing new recipes and eat cake! And who amongst us isn’t getting fat? Who now needs elasticated waist bands? Relaxed fit jeans? A size bigger than 8 months ago? It’s true but hey – we’re making it through – we are!
And we will make it through and out the other side. Someone turned on the light and the tunnel now has an end to it – vague and misty looking right now but at least there is a light there. Let’s get through each day. One day at a time. Stay home and stay safe.