Coping with the impact of the Coronavirus
Coping with the impact of the Coronavirus
Monday, 19 July 2021
TV, radio and social media continue to be filled with stories about Covid-19. However, schools, colleges and workplaces are gradually re-opening following advice from the government.
The novelty of time at home has more than likely worn off by now. In fact, there’s a lot of ‘new normal’ talk, but let’s remind ourselves, these are unusual times. It is important to look after both our mental and physical health.
Though there are very different challenges right now.
We have become so familiar with the public health information, it can be easy to let the basics slide. Continue to pay attention to what you can do to help prevent the spread of viruses and the symptoms of Coronavirus.
When looking for information about Covid-19 and Coronavirus, go directly to trusted sources, such as the HSE.
Current challenging situations
Change of routine
With schools, colleges and many workplaces opening on a phased basis, our routines have changed. However, when things are uncertain, trying to maintain some sort of routine can help to keep us grounded.
Even on days when you are working from home, get up at the same time and get dressed as usual. Set yourself tasks to complete. Make sure you include breaks and leisure activities.
Think about what activities you enjoy, or enjoyed in the past that you could restart. Perhaps now is the time to take up some new hobbies.
Coping with isolation
Even though we are gradually getting back to seeing people, opportunities to meet up may still be limited. Feeling isolated can significantly impact our mood. Actively maintaining communication, and sharing how we feel with others is crucial at this time.
We know by now how great technology can be to connect, with individuals or on group platforms. Email, or even old school letters are nice ways to keep in touch. However, technology is not a complete substitute for seeing someone in ‘real life’.
Try to make plans to meet up at a level you feel comfortable with. Activities are possible with a bit of co-ordination. Clarify with friends and relatives how much interaction you are comfortable with.
Coping with family or housemates
Blended learning in colleges and phased office returns means working from home is still on the agenda for many of us. If you live with parents or in a shared house, things can feel pretty crowded. Even if we generally get on with those we live with, spending lots of time in each other’s company can lead to tension and conflict.
Be aware of the needs of others in the household. Discuss schedules so that, you can all complete work that requires quiet at the same time. Agree who is going to use which parts of the house for which activities.
If you need some time alone, flag this and let people know. Compromise will be needed from all of us. Being able to communicate clearly and calmly will be key.
Social media and anxiety
The level of uncertainty regarding the impact of Coronavirus can be anxiety provoking. Added to this is the amount of mixed or confused stories shared via social media.
As new phases of reopening are announced, ‘fake news’ is rife and it’s easy to feel confused. Check the original source of information before resharing it as fact.
Even posts that look official can be doctored. Go directly to official government and health department websites or news feeds for updates and information.
Although you may be looking for reassurance or clarification, don’t get drawn in to obsessively scrolling for info. The stream of Covid-19 updates is endless. Ongoing consumption of this can actually add to the feelings of anxiety.
If looking through news feeds is anxiety provoking, only look at your phone at designated or limited times to check for updates from a trusted source.
No one expected that Coronavirus would have such a big and prolonged impact on our lives. This is a time to be compassionate with ourselves and those around us.
Talk as kindly and reassuringly to yourself as you do to others. Notice what you are telling yourself about what is going on. Be as balanced as possible.
Notice if the way you are thinking is leading you to feeling panicky and try to challenge these thoughts. Distract yourself when needed and do activities that make you feel good.
This might be a great time to start a journal. Write down how you are feeling and thinking about the situation.
Talk to those around you about how you feel. Share your concerns with someone you trust.
This is an unusual situation for everyone with no right or wrong way to feel. Paying attention to our mental health and physical safety, and supporting each other, we can get through this challenging time. We may even learn some helpful self-care skills for the future.