Published Sept 19, 2020
Whether in lockdown away from loved ones, concerned for an at-risk parent or home-schooling our children, we are all dealing with our fair share of difficulties right now.
It is natural to fall into the fear trap when faced with the uncertainty and unpredictability of Covid-19, but we must remember there is time to change the course of this virus.
It’s not always easy to keep that in mind when diligently washing our hands 50 times a day or practising social distancing. Here are a few things you can do to keep calm in the face of the current challenges.
Along with being difficult to manage, stress and anxiety can lower your immunity, leaving you at an increased risk of infection. With stress and worry are on the increase due to Covid-19, it’s an important time to make sure you’re keeping active.
Exercise releases chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin and endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers, so may improve your mood and help to manage feelings of anxiety or depression.
- Get walking – 10,000 steps per day is the widely accepted number we should all take to keep fit and healthy. To get started towards your target, track what you are currently doing (with the iPhone pedometer or a Fitbit or similar) and ease into increasing your step count. Lift your daily target by 1,000 each week until you hit your goal.
- Try online classes – There is no better time test out that exciting new exercise you’ve always wanted to try. Many yoga studios, gyms and personal trainers are being resourceful and offering virtual training classes online, often free of charge. Why not say yes to that Zumba class you were never brave enough to try!
Social distancing is challenging for most people. We, humans, are innately social; from the dawn of civilization to the present day, we’ve lived in groups – whether villages, communities or family units.
Try reframing ‘social distancing’ as ‘physical distancing’, and remember that, while you cannot physically be next to all the people you want to be, you can still keep ‘socially connected’. With the wonders of modern technology, there are plenty of easy ways to stay in touch with friends and family.
- Use the phone, text, email – any means possible – to stay connected to the people who matter to you. When possible, use your video function – research shows that seeing someone’s warm facial expressions can help create a sense of connection for people who are feeling lonely.
- It’s not just your loved ones you should stay connected to; others in your community may also need your support. Showing a little human kindness by calling for a chat or offering to go food shopping for someone lonely or vulnerable not only helps them but can also improve your sense of purpose and value, improving your well-being
Cultivate positive emotions
When the news is all doom and gloom – as it has been since the outbreak of the coronavirus – even the most optimistic among us can get dragged down now and again. There are, of course, many tangible reasons to feel concerned right now – so take control by choosing not to focus on them.
- Limit your intake – While being informed is important, no-one is asking you to become a Covid-19 expert. Staying glued to the news gives you more reasons to worry about things you can’t control. Limit your exposure to 10 minutes a day, and take control of your social media feeds by following more accounts and pages that make you feel good. If someone you follow on social media is sharing posts that are alarmist or worrying, just mute or unfollow them to avoid seeing their updates.
- Keep things in perspective – Take a breath and remember that most people contracting COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms. Meanwhile, work is being done to help people who may be more vulnerable to the coronavirus, including senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions. By taking all the recommended precautions, including washing your hands and practising social distancing, you’re doing everything in your power to minimise your chances of getting sick. That in itself should bring peace of mind.
- Appreciate the little things – Even in this current climate, there are still small moments to savour. The smell of coffee, the feeling of fresh sheets on your bed, and so on. When you let yourself truly absorb these moments, you’re allowing your brain to process the pleasure, which may boost your serotonin – the happy neurotransmitter that helps lift your mood and make you feel calm.
- Finish your day on a positive – End each day by noting down something positive you created, learned or are thankful for. It may help counteract some of the negativity you’ve absorbed during the day and serve as a reminder that not everything is as bad as it seems.
In times of persistent negative messaging, it’s up to you to cultivate a negativity shield that will help you move forward with determination, optimism and hope. Do as many things as you possibly can that are uplifting, stress-relieving and laughter-inducing. For sure, life may be tough right now, but a positive, proactive mindset will help get us through this in one piece.
Published Health & Wellness Writer | Nutritional Therapist Dip ION, BSC
I am a professional copywriter, with vast experience in marketing and communications in the field of nutrition and wellness. I have contributed to a number of leading publications, including Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Health, Veggie Magazine, Simply Vegan, Plantbased Mag, Natural health Magazine and Vegan Food & Living.
I have years of experience as a web content creator and marketing manager, for websites receiving over 100,000 monthly hits. I was solely responsible for SEO for this site and a number of others. I had responsibility for generating a weekly newsletter which had a nutritional focus.
My areas of interest are nutrition, wellness, sustainability and all things eco-friendly. I am an allrounder and enjoy all aspects of business such as building websites, SEO, business development and marketing.strategy.
Qualifications: I am a qualified Nutritional Therapist with a higher degree in Marketing and Management.