I am writing this blog because I want to normalise the level of Corona Anxiety that you may be feeling. It even has its own hashtag #Coronaanxiety so clearly it is a ‘thing’. I want to try to take away some of the isolation that comes with the anxiety and let you know that many many people are feeling just the same as you do right now, though you may not see it.
To be clear it is perfectly ‘normal’ in these unprecedented times to be experiencing a range of emotions and difficulties. Most people I reckon are on a pendulum between ‘everything will be fine’ and ‘absolute terror’. The feelings come in waves and you never quite know when the next one will overwhelm you. Anxiety UK report an increase of around 30-35% in their call rate and have extended their helpline and group sessions accordingly.
This swing of emotions happens for a number of reasons and the reality is that is that we are a nation that is experiencing significant loss at the moment. We are losing life as we know it so it makes sense we are going to feel upset, angry or out of control. We may also feel distracted, panicked, depressed and at times unable to cope.
The new normal after Corona Virus
I can promise you that of course it will take time, but we are adaptive human beings and what each of us is now working towards is a ‘new normal’. Inevitably there will be a number of ‘new normals’ that we will have to accept to get to our final destination. However, in time we will get back to a life that feels familiar or has some sort of recognition to it. We cannot simply expect to return to our old lives as there will, of course be changes. We need to trust and believe that we can adapt.
It would be foolish to ignore the fact that there is going to be loss of life for a number of families and the saddness of this can feel overwhelming. There is also going to be financial hardship and other losses for many in our community. If we are lucky enough not to lose anyone or anything, then we will well placed to support those around us that do.
We are now seeing huge sacrifices from our emergency services. They have pledged to do what they can to literally maintain life and help people survive. I have seen many acts of kindness on social media, everyday people doing good things for each other no matter how small. Personally my trust in humans to be kind and selfless remains intact.
Helping yourself, family and friends through Corona Anxiety right now?
Structure is one of the most important assets for maintaining your mental health at the moment. Make sure you get up, shower and get dressed every day. Plan your days, create some rules for your household like reducing the amount of news you watch/read about. What time you will do school work, play, exercise etc. Check out the following list and make sure your day includes some of these activities. Add to it with anything that bring you calmness and pleasure:-
- Meditate – Calm have opened up a section of their resources for free to help with anxiety in this difficult time. Alternatively you can try the free trial at Headspace.
- Distract yourself – Check out Amazon Kindle for free or 99p books. You don’t need a Kindle, just add the app to your phone or tablet
- Exercise – Get out for your daily walk, don’t bother to take the car just walk from home around your area. If I hadn’t done that yesterday I would never have experienced the gorgeous Whitebells just up the road. Also check out the great Joe Wicks free workout Mon-Fri at 9.00 (available for 24hours) on youtube. Get yourself and the family moving every day. Always fancied running? Why not give it a go now with the free Couch to 5k app.
- To do list – Make a list of all those things you wanted to get round to in the house but never had time. Check out things like Evernote, one of the best ways to create a to do list and help you go paperless at home. Or learn to Bullet Journal if you are more creative and want a written version. Keep things simple for now, like sorting cupboards, decluttering and get the family to do the same. If you are not sure where to start, check out Marie Kondos book. If you want to organise your home more efficiently, check out this book by Sheila Chandra about the Toothbrush Principle.
- Coffee with friends virtually – make sure you are putting time in your day to speak to friends and family. Try to do it on a live video app. There are plenty to choose from such as Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp or Zoom. Make a coffee (or tea!) sit down and have a chat with someone everyday.
- Keep a gratitude journal – list 3 things each morning or evening that you are grateful for today. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, maybe you enjoyed the chat with your friend or your favorite coffee. It’s proven that in everyday life people who practice gratitude are definitely happier. Make your list privately on an app on your device, write it in your journal. You could make it a daily ritual for the family to talk through your individual gratitudes for each day.
- Learn a new language or skill – youtube has loads of videos to learn almost anything. As an example, search ‘learn to crochet’ and you will be presented with a mass of videos teaching you how. Alternatively, what about learning a new language for free with Duolingo. Get the family involved ready for that foreign holiday you will take next year, see who can learn the most.
- Listen to Podcasts or TED talks and feel inspired by others – one of my favourite TED talks here is about how to gain control of your free time when you don’t normally feel you have any, oh the irony!!
- Write down your fears and anxieties. Do share them with your family and friends, don’t keep them to yourself, people will listen.
- Get out in the garden and potter. Think about outdoor jobs now whilst the weather is so fab and save the indoor ones for when the weather breaks.
- And finally a lovely little ‘ism’ from my dear friend, be kind to yourself at this time! Remember, no-one is going to be coming round to see that you haven’t hoovered or emptied the dishwasher so….chill the f@*k out a bit 🙂
Add Distraction to your Corona Anxiety tool kit
I appreciate that much of the above you already know. The idea is to remind you that Corona Anxiety is of course a normal reaction to our current situation. To let you know that distraction and structure is an excellent coping strategy. Don’t be overdoing things but try to keep busy and remember to breathe.
Counselling sessions are still possible via Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom and telephone during this difficult time. If you have any specific needs or simply want to arrange a session do not hesitate to get in touch here.