The middle of September heralded at least 6 months of the global Covid-19 pandemic (depending on which starting point you are working from).
As we all know the storm of the global pandemic has hit us all in different ways. “We are all in the same sea but different boats” is one of my favourite pandemic quotes.
Everyone’s situation is not the same
Some people have lost loved ones, some have been working throughout with little time off and are close to burn out, some have “long covid” and are still facing serious health issues and have been since March. Some people are vulnerable on the front line in the health sector, retail and hospitality where people are not following the guidelines and are being abusive. Some are working from home and either love it or hate it. Some are having to wait to have life threatening conditions investigated. Student freshers are locked in their halls.
On the other hand, some workers are enjoying the no commute workday, learning new skills, making their living space a joy to be in, cooking and being with their family more. They are exercising outdoors and riding their bikes.
Mental ill health is rising
Mental ill health is on the rise as the Samaritans point to “worrying trends” and we know that common mental health conditions are worsened during times of economic uncertainty. Men aged 45-49 remain at the highest risk of suicide, and there is an increase in suicide rates among young people, especially women under 25. An increase in suicide rates among people aged 25 to 44 in recent years continued in 2019.
“With the impact of the pandemic this year taking a huge toll on people’s mental wellbeing, we should be even more concerned,” said the charity’s chief executive, Ruth Sutherland.
While it seemed recently like things were improving, it now feels like we are headed in the other direction. It seems like the “Rule of 6” and local lockdowns may be here for another 6 months.
The current situation was summed up brilliantly by Dr Aisha Ahmad on Twitter, who said: ‘The six-month mark in any sustained crisis is always difficult. We have all adjusted to this “new normal” but we might now feel like we’re running out of steam. Yet, at best, we are only 1/3 the way through this marathon. How can we keep going?’
As winter draws in is the light at the end of the tunnel dimmer than ever?
How can we keep on going if the pandemic keeps going?
Gratitude can have a profound effect on our mental health. If we spend time noticing what we have to be grateful for, we can start to change our mindset. I’m not saying we always have to be grateful and think positively, but this is a way of starting to shift our mindset and our brains. We can be grateful for the small things: our breath, our home, our cup of tea. From this the feeling can grow and we can start to change our perspective. Have a look at my previous blog on gratitude.
Keep making plans so you have something to look forward to. It can be making a date for a virtual cuppa, maybe the zoom quizzes have had their day? Finding a virtual network following your interests. Daily plans to get some fresh air. It all adds up. If you keep postponing things, you can put your life on hold and we only get one chance at it.
Reduce the Scrolling
Limit the amount of social media and news you consume. Actually, set a timer for 10 minutes or you will soon be down the rabbit hole and either feeling inadequate, or ranting!
It’s amazing how good it feels to clean out your cutlery drawer or put your laundry away. Spend a little time each day doing these small things. You can even make a game of it with your children putting toys away or finding new homes for them (the toys I mean, not the children)!
Make routines for your wellbeing – if you think you don’t have time for it, you will soon have to make time for being ill. Small amounts of time every day go a long way to make you feel better.
The elements that help me:
Meditation – find a style that suits you and do at least 10 minutes a day. Start with my 3 minute breathing space.
Yoga – I do online Yoga with Sally at Beeston Fitness – it’s £12 per week and I feel so much better for it, mentally and physically.
Exercise – find something you love doing or you won’t keep it up! I love to run, but you may love dancing, walking the dog or walking around town.
Talk to friends, colleagues, family or get help from a professional. Do Not keep your feelings bottled up, we all need to release them; and the best way is to talk to someone you trust.