Coronavirus has brought in self-isolating or simply being “locked-down” to our daily lives, challenging our emotional well-being. Simply being in a confined space over long periods of time with our loved ones can be difficult to endure. Here are some coping tips and techniques to help you to deal effectively with the stress, anxiety, and worries that can happen through Covid-19 isolation.
Too much news is bad news! The human mind is very poorly adapted to coping with the constant drama and visual stimuli that comes with 24/7, constantly on, “hyped” news stories. So much so, that it can trigger our brain’s threat system and that threat system can remain on, leaving us with strong feeling of anxiety or unease. If you are having difficult sleeping and cannot seem to relax, are you simply plugged in to too much news?
What to Do?
If this sounds like you, simply limit yourself to one news “fix” each day from a source you trust. That will allow you to keep track of enough of what is happening world-wide. Less is often more and this will allow your thread system to reset, and you to avoid feeling drained and exhausted
Regular Routines and Parallel Universes
Like most of us, you probably used to have a pretty regular pattern for the day – getting up roughly at the same time, having a morning routine, and even often the regular commute or school run? We tend to look for and follow patterns much as the earth itself has cycles of day and night. Our current situation can seem almost surreal, like a different but parallel universe in which we can lose our way. Dysregulation–What at first appears as a great work-at-home opportunity for a late start in the morning can rapidly become a sloth-like, up-hill challenge of motivation.
What to Do?
Set your own routine. Some people find that wearing your work clothes and starting on time helps. For others it is writing down a daily plan which includes breaks and time for exercise and lunch. Find your rhythm and it helps to keep your mood positive.
Compassion and Kindness
Did you perhaps get caught in the feelings of panic buying earlier in the year? We are programmed to pick up each other’s collective feelings and it is so difficult not to get swept along with “the crowd”. At times like these we can become trapped into selfish behaviour, thinking at the expense of others.
What to Do
A great antidote for this is to show compassion or be kind to someone. It could be someone that you know who would benefit from shopping being delivered or even a family member who you could be supportive of by an unexpected call or video chat. Even petting your dog can help you to reconnect.
We can often be trapped inside our own heads as our thoughts travel like sheep along well-worn pathways of worry. We can tend to live inside our own heads.
What to do?
Try switching from an internal focus of your own thoughts to an external – notice the ticking of the clock in the room, the splash of sunlight through the blinds or even the noise of the rain on the window pane. If you have some flowers in the room or the garden concentrate on their beauty or their scent. Make a habit of taking time to notice. You can walk the same path a thousand times and always notice something different.
Talking is Good!
If you find that you are struggling, and are feeling low and depressed or anxious – that is normal in these anxious times. However, it doesn’t help to keep these feelings or thoughts trapped inside you.
What to Do?
Find someone to speak to and share your feelings. The best friends to choose are someone who is non-judgemental, a friend or someone in the family is ideal. The Samaritans can be an excellent resource or Childline if you are under 16. Professionals are on hand and you can now access Therapy on-line.
Ken McLeish is Principal Therapist at Reflexions Counselling and Therapy in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Reflexions provides counselling and therapy for a range of issues including addictions. He can be contacted through the website: https://counselling-newcastle.co.uk .
Information contained in this blog is not a substitute for face-to-face therapy. It can only every be one view of a situation and may not be applicable to your situation. You are advised to seek specialist support if you are feeling overwhelmed. The work here is a personal view which may change over time and should not be taken as representative of Reflexions Counselling and Psychotherapy.