I don’t know how you’re feeling today.
I won’t try to guess.
All I know is across the globe right now, we’re all wondering what in the world’s just happened.
Crisis impacts each of us differently; there is no “one size fits all” approach to dealing with change as drastic and intrusive as this. The past few weeks have seen us adjust the way we interact, socialise, get our basic needs, work and live!
We are dealing with uncertainty that has come into our lives quickly and uninvited, and a lot of people are feeling overwhelmed right now. Words like scared, depressed, lonely and anxious have become a part of our daily vocabulary. Hearing these words is a stark reminder that each of us will be impacted in a way that is unique to us as individuals.
One thing I know is this:
Protecting our mental health should be a priority.
Quite often we shy away from talking about our mental health or even admitting that we struggle with it. Yet even in the best of times, it is a battle for so many people.
Now more than ever, we need to be sensitive to those around us because for some, this new reality could be too much to bear. We are now at a stage where we’re hearing of people we know, dying or losing loved ones from Covid-19 and that is scary!
There is no right or wrong way to respond and nobody has all the answers.
So here are a few suggestions that are helping me to protect my peace as we go through this very unusual time together. I invite you to share yours in the comments.
Focusing on God
We can be quick to blame God for what we see as disruption. However, one thing I am learning is that times like this shift our dependency from the things that we think protect us – money, jobs, careers – to the One who actually does.
Every day that we go about our routines, God protects us from threats that are unseen. Often we take this for granted because when things are good, we don’t always see his hand at work. Yet when things are bad, we are quick to point a finger at him.
Knowing that God is constant in an ever-changing world reminds us that we can trust who He is and what we know about Him. He will get us through this.
Instead of focusing on things you can’t control, focus on what you can
Do things you love – like writing this article right now! Shifting your focus to something positive and engaging refocuses your mind and helps you see the good things that still exist in your life.
Do some gardening, dance, go for a run or walk (if permitted!) – whatever you do, find something to get your body moving because this is good for your mind too.
Get creative whether you’re on your own or with your partner and kids – create new games, cook together, bake, do a big puzzle (currently trying to get one on Amazon!), read or listen to a podcast.
Binge watch a series – never has this been more encouraged in life. If it keeps you at home and lifts up your spirits, do it! Side bar: stand up comedy always picks me up.
All of this is better than fixating on the news so get creative with something that you can control.
You’ve heard this one loads of times but.. stay connected!
One of the most difficult things about social distancing is feeling cut off from the world. Isolation can lead to despair, so keep talking to people. Granted, lots of video calls isn’t the solution for everybody, but try not to isolate yourself to the point you start to feel helpless.
As much as you can, talk to friends and family, or sign up to a community initiative that’s looking out for people in isolation.
Lastly, you may not have the luxury to think about any of the above right now. Many people have lost their jobs and are trying to figure out their immediate basic needs. Many more are still going to work because other people’s lives depend on it.
In whatever small way you can, try to find a rhythm that prioritises your mental health.
Give yourself space and understanding to figure things out a day at a time. None of us knows what will happen tomorrow. For me personally, being productive keeps me from feeling claustrophobic.
You know best how this situation is affecting you – do what works for you based on what you know.
The truth is, we will probably be dealing with the repercussions of this pandemic long after the crisis is over. Give yourself the best chance by looking after your mental health as much as you can right now.
And remember, we really are in this together.
Stay safe and stay positive ❤
P.S: I’m off to make flapjacks.