Unprecedented, frightening, uncertain. These are just some of the words for the current situation.
Covid-19 has only existed within the western hemisphere for the past couple of months. But, regardless of how long we have been affected, it has transformed every aspect of our lives.
While front line staff and key workers continue working, securing our safety, the rest of us work from home and try to resume some sort of normality behind closed doors.
However, with this change, comes a fear of the unknown, with endless questions and possibilities.
“When will the lockdown end?”
“How will this affect the economy and jobs?”
“When will there be a vaccine?”
“Will coronavirus return?”
“How will this impact mental health concerns?”
“Will things ever go back to how they once were?”
Questions we have all asked ourselves, our housemates, partners and even Google. But the reality is, for some of these, we may not receive an answer any time soon.
The truth is, there is still a lot we don’t know, and your concerns, anxieties and worries are all legitimate.
So What Do We Do?
For several reasons, the answer is not sitting at home and stressing about things which are out of your control. “Tackling the unknown” is not a foolproof plan to solve the COVID crisis but rather, a way for you to deal with your emotions and concerns in a more productive manner.
Filter The News
Problem: Newspapers, social media and TV news outlets are broadcasting around the clock coverage of COVID-19. And it’s become inescapable. We are flooded with information, and it can be difficult to sift through the noise and decipher what is true and what is not.
Solution: Find a trustworthy source of information such as a government website or the World Health Organisation. It’s also important to fact-check anything you see on social media before you share it.
Even consider setting some boundaries and switching off the news in the evenings, so you don’t overwhelm your brain before you go to bed.
WhatsApp have recently released a new feature to prevent people forwarding one message to multiple people, slowing down the spread of misinformation.
Look After Yourself
Problem: Everyone is preaching about self-care, though it’s with good reason. Your body and your brain need taking care of, and if you forget about your physical health, this will have a negative impact on your mental health, as researchers Ohrnberger et al. report.
Solution: Attempt to include some form of physical activity in your daily routine. There are countless online workouts available and be sure to use your hour of outside time wisely. This will not only help ease your stress but get your blood pumping too.
Problem: With so much change occurring, it can be easy to feel dishevelled and disordered. Whether it’s to do with working from home, employment or food shopping.
Solution: Research or speak to your employer if you’re concerned about your work. Alternatively, you can seek advice from organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau for more information on how things may impact you. If your concerns are around being at home, try to plan your week of work and/or meals ahead of time so you don’t panic when it comes to Monday morning or standing in the queue at Tesco’s.
Ask For Help
Problem: Whatever your concerns surrounding the COVID outbreak are, know that they are valid. If yet, your concerns begin to interfere with your daily life and functionality, then it may be time to ask for help.
Solution: Talking to trusted family members and friends can help to ease your worries. It’s also a good way to keep connected and occupied.
You may be surprised, but talking to neighbours can be enjoyable especially when you’re not discussing bin collection times…
As we move into our fourth week of lockdown in the UK, there’s no doubting, this is a time riddled with uncertainty and anxiety,but it’s important to start tackling your fear of the unknown and focusing on things you can control, rather than can’t.
If you feel your emotions are intruding on your life and you’re unable to address them, speaking to a mental health professional is recommended. There are several organisations and charities whom you can contact online if you need to speak to someone.
Here are some trusted sites: