In January 2020 few of us had even heard of COVID-19, but just 4 months later, our world is transformed by this global virus.
Such sudden change brings doubt and uncertainty, raising many questions: How will I cope? How are others managing? Who can help me? Who needs my help? How can I help? What will happen? What are the right things to do?
I’m discussing questions like these with patients, colleagues, family, friends, neighbours, employees and employers, emergency responders and others. We are all affected by this crisis.
Many people describe a mixture of thoughts and feelings including confusion and disorientation. Some people talk of feeling anxiety, fear, grief, loneliness, frustration, helplessness and guilt. Others reveal their gratitude, hope and commitment to helping others in this crisis. Many report an emotional rollercoaster, from hour to hour, day to day.
There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to coping with this challenge and all reactions are understandable and valid. Here are some ideas which may be useful:
- Create your own wellbeing plan. Begin by asking yourself some questions including: What are your usual coping strategies in difficult times and what has helped in the past? What aspects of these things can you reintroduce now? How can you adapt them for social isolation? Would you benefit from a daily routine? Do you find it helpful to stay connected with friends and family? What triggers your worry or anxiety and how can you limit exposure to these?
- Focus on what you can control rather than what you can’t. You can’t control, for example, how long the crisis will last or how others will behave. Instead you can focus on how you follow Covid guidelines yourself, how you relate to other people and how you choose to spend your time. This includes how you access the news and social media.
- Find out what national and local support is available. Save some numbers to call in case you need assistance or someone to talk with.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may contact a neighbour, a friend, family or a local community action group. There is generosity of spirit in communities with people keen to help. Ensure you pick a person or organisation you can trust.
- Be the person you’d want in your corner. Try not to make comparisons to others, or give yourself a hard time for feeling the way you do – you’re doing the best you can and this won’t last forever.
You may find the below support helpful:
- Headspace app
- Calm app