No matter how certain we thought our lives were before the pandemic, I’m sure it’s left the majority of us feeling unsure, uncertain and concerned about not only our own futures, but also for what lies ahead for our loved ones and for society as a whole. Many of us may experience feelings of anxiety, low mood and even a sense of loss – missing our friends, family, and the life we could be living. A feeling of anxiety is our body’s way of telling us “that something is wrong” – despite living with Covid-19 for several months now, it’s still not a normality we’re all used to!
Although we can’t change what’s going on around us, we all have the capacity to regain a sense a control and autonomy in our lives. I know this may seem easier said than done, but maybe one of the following suggestions can help to bring a sense of normality back to our lives.
Firstly, a sense of routine. OK, I have to admit that lounging around in our PJ’s until lunchtime is a lovely thing to do on a leisurely day off, but if we do this every day, it becomes less of a treat when we do want to have some down time. So, attempting to stick to our usual schedule can give a sense of normality – sleeping and eating at the usual times also maintains our healthy hormone levels, which in turn, helps to regulate our moods. You can look forward to that lazy Sunday morning….
Next, a sense of connection. Talking to friends and family when we feel we have nothing of interest to say may feel difficult – personally, I don’t want to admit to my family how many biscuits I’ve eaten already today! However, a quick phone call to a loved one, (even if it’s just to talk about what your neighbours have been up to!) is another way of boosting those “feel good” hormones…especially when they admit to eating more biscuits than you.
Then, a sense of movement. With restrictions eased over exercising and the weather improving as we move into the summer months, feeling the sun on our skin is yet another way of increasing those hormone levels. If you can get outside and notice the colours, smells and sounds of life around us, it can aid to ground us in the here and now. It also helps to burn the biscuit calories…
Finally, a sense of usefulness. If you have spare time and have no furlough restrictions, volunteering can give you a sense of purpose. If this isn’t possible, this down time can be used to learn new skills. Maybe that language you’ve always meant to learn. “Da dove posso comprare I biscotti, per favore?” Now I’ll never be short of biscuits when in Italy!
Above all else, be kind to yourself in the same way that we’re all attempting to be kind to everyone around us. Together (whilst socially distanced!) we can get through this.