25 Mar COPING WITH SELF-ISOLATION
As we all know, and are most definitely all feeling, the coronavirus is impacting on us on a global scale. This is unprecedented in every way which is why we are activating higher levels of unease due to the uncertainty of what lies ahead, with increased levels of sadness, anxiety, anger, and for some, real fear.
In addition to the crisis we are all facing, we are now being asked to isolate ourselves from the people and things that we love and would, most definitely, help us during this difficult time. This could undoubtedly affect our well-being. Our freedom will feel compromised. Independence we take for granted will feel taken away. Dependency on others to look after and be there for us when we feel vulnerable is becoming necessary. We have lost routine, structure and choice. This brings a feeling of helplessness and loss too. Therefore, it is perfectly normal and natural to be experiencing what we are feeling. Our brains are doing what is right, not what is wrong.
Nevertheless, we must make sure that we don’t let our emotions get too carried away and associate with our imagination, as this will lead to greater catastrophising of the situation. This will not help us at all. We must remember to focus on what we are doing now and not think too far ahead into the future. The one thing we can all be certain of is that what lies ahead has elements of uncertainty, but it will all change; situations and emotions always change.
Remember, we are all experiencing this together and we hope the days are peppered with moments of laughter and contentment, even at this difficult time.
Tips on coping with self-isolation
- Keep as much structure in your family’s life as you possibly can
- Ensure your family gets plenty of sleep and sticks to sensible sleep routines. Discourage your children to stay up all night and sleep all day, as this will make them moody
- Accept what is happening. This is completely out of our control so we either fight it and hold onto all our negative feelings and stay miserable, or accept the reality and put our emotional energy into doing things that will make us feel happier and better at this time
- Remember, all our emotions are telling the truth but the degree of which we are feeling them can sometimes feel too much. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, scared or sad: label the emotion. Naming our emotions correctly helps to reduce their intensity
- To reduce heightened levels of anxiety, take some time out to breathe in slowly for the count of 4, hold your breath for the count of 7, then slowly breathe out for the count of 8. This floods the brain with oxygen to induce a sense of calm and helps to lower the heart rate. Repeat for as many times as is necessary
- Use the time to get busy. This will help our days feel like they have a purpose and will also help the day pass quickly. Do the jobs that have been on your mind for a long time, the ones you never get around to doing. Sort cupboards, organise photographs, start an online course
- Incorporate exercise into your day. If you lie on the sofa all day, every day, your brain will think you are ill and will shut down positive chemical production. Boost those feel-good chemicals with movement and pleasurable activities
- Ride the wave of boredom. In the busy, overdemanding lives we all lead, boredom is often an emotion that many people yearn but rarely experience. Feeling bored is important for positive mental health and well-being, as it gives rise to doing the things that we want to do rather than what we feel we must do. It awakens our creativity and playfulness
- Accept life may feel slower. It may take time to adjust. Slowing down could do us more good than we realise and lead to long term positive change
- Stay connected with family and friends. Knowing we have people there for us, as we are there for them, gives us a positive sense of well-being. Use this time to contact the people you haven’t spoken to for a long time
We are all in this together. Often out of difficult experiences comes a strength, a sense of belonging and wisdom that can add a richness to our lives. This learning curve is huge for us all and it will support our resilience in
other situations, which we will undoubtedly experience across our lifetime