We’ve landed in a brave new world – a global pandemic. How do we cope when for many of us there seem to be more questions than answers? This article offers 11 Simple Tips to help you stay as happy, balanced and as healthy as possible through COVID-19.
We’re united as a humanity through a challenge that crosses all borders, races and ages. Coronavirus is indiscriminating. No one is immune – to the virus itself, nor to its far-reaching effects. We are impacted socially, emotionally, economically, psychologically and physically – some of us more than others depending on our circumstances, location, age, health, work and socio-economic situation.
Many of us wonder: When will things settle back to “normal”? Will my business recover? Will I be able to get a job? What’s going to happen to the world? How will this affect my world, and the world of those I love?
During these unpredictable and challenging times, many of us are feeling like we’ve lost control over our lives. And for some, this is exactly what has happened.
There are those among us for whom life has seemed relatively unaffected. We've all had to incorporate appropriate new health and safety protection measures such as social distancing, disinfecting and cleaning, hand sanitation and tracking of clients and venues attended. However, certain necessity businesses such as mechanics, solicitors or supermarkets have continued to operate virtually unscathed – at least from an economic perspective. And those of us who were already working from home in industries that are relatively unaffected will feel like not too much has changed.
Then there are businesses and those of us who are actually benefiting from this new world. Certain government departments and their contractors are facing new demands and new solutions – which means more work. I visited my computer repair guy a few weeks ago and he said he couldn’t keep up with the increase in demand. More people were at home with their devices and games, and that means more people fixing Nintendo’s or spilling drinks (as I did) on their laptops. Likewise, the bike and skater shop owners reported similar stories – people are home, bored and looking for something to do. They’re creating adventure in their lives with bikes, roller blades, skates and skate boards.
There are even some amongst us who are actually enjoying the associated slow down and “break” they’re getting as a result of the pandemic. I bumped into a neighbour recently who shared his appreciation for not having to get up at 5 am to go to work. He couldn’t believe his luck: to receive a government subsidy, stay at home and finally renovate his bathroom – which he’d been planning to do for years. He sheepishly confessed how much he valued not being able to catch up with friends out of obligation – and not having to feel guilty about it. He was really enjoying the new pace and the escape from everyday pressures of life.
For many, however, the impact of a global pandemic that seemed too unexpected and sudden to be believable, has been dramatic and devastating. They’ve lost their jobs, their businesses, their income. And even worse, they don’t know if or when their situation will improve. Some have lost loved ones, their own health, their ability to be with those they love and their sense of identity or freedom. Some have found themselves trapped in an abusive environment from which they cannot escape. Those who are drastically affected feel powerless because in a sense they are – they are victims of an unexpected attack: a viral attack.
For those in this final category especially, how do we cope? What can we do to navigate through this unpredictable storm?
Below are 11 Simple Tips to help you get through this tunnel – and arrive to a light on the other side.
The one certainty we have in times of uncertainty is the knowing that we will not be living in this crisis forever.
Although life as we knew it may change a little, we will learn to live with this virus, develop immunity over time, or discover a vaccine or treatment.
As the saying goes, “every cloud has a silver lining”. The situation we’ve found ourselves in, as challenging as it is for many of us, will bring about positive change. Some of us will be forced to discover a new perspective, or reinvent our lives. And others will find new ways to identify with themselves and the world around them. Out of all challenges come strength and resilience, and many of us will discover an inner vigou we never knew we had.
From a humanity perspective, there is great value in being united in our adversity and quest for health, happiness and freedom. This could generate great empathy, compassion and a sense of oneness that would benefit the entire human race.
When we worry about the past, it’s a waste of time and energy – the past is over. The same goes for worrying about the future – most of the time our concerns will never become our reality.
Most importantly though, when we worry about the past, the future or even what others think, we have forfeited the moment. And the moment is all we have in life.
The moment is all life is. When you think about it, life is essentially a series of moments. So if we lose the moment, with past or future worrying for example, we have actually lost life.
The moment is all life is. So if we lose the moment, with past or future worrying for example, we have actually lost life.
Additionally, we have lost the capacity to create the life we want. Our power lies in the moment. Investing powerfully and positively in every moment is what determines a powerful and positive future.
So the bottom line is this: the power to cope lies in staying in the moment, and making the best of each and every moment: one minute, one hour, one day at a time.
Be mindful of what your main focus is.
If you’re constantly focusing on what’s gone wrong, the reality it this is what grows. There is always something good going on, no matter how dire our circumstances. Even if we focus on our beautiful children, or our capacity to think, reason and find solutions, that will then be what we grow in our lives.
This ties in with the last point. When you value the good things in your life, you feel better, and this enables you to take more inspired positive action.
We can value the air we breathe, the clean water we drink, our ability to move and feel, our family and friends. The list is endless. There is always something to be grateful for.
In the same vain, we need to be careful to avoid Negative Thinking Sinking Sand.
It can be intoxicating to get caught up in what could happen, and the associated negative consequences. This kind of thinking can be a destructive trap. We can find ourselves sinking down faster and faster. And the only way out is to change our focus: something or someone positive.
“Your worst enemy cannot hurt you as much as your own thoughts, when you haven’t mastered them,” said the Buddha. “But once mastered, no one can help you as much—not even your father and your mother.”
― Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
Hang out with those who value you.
Especially during difficult times, choose to be around people who are positive, solution-focused and who value you, instil confidence in you and see the best in you. Those who believe in you, those who are mutually kind, thoughtful and supportive and those who you feel good being around are the people you want to invest in.
Avoid argumentative and cantankerous people, as well as those stuck in Negative Thinking Sinking Sand.
Avoid watching, listening to or reading anything that feels destructive or negative. Violent video games fall into the same category.
Be mindful of mind pollution. It can cause more harm that toxic substances.
Polluting our mind can be more harmful than polluting our body.
Instead, read a great novel, watch an inspiring documentary or movie, or listen to some interesting and exciting Podcasts. You can listen to podcasts while driving or going about your everyday chores, and they can be great mood enhancers and provide wonderful motivation and ideas.
Sam Makhoul, founder of A Higher Branch offers wonderful podcasts where you can discover tips and ideas from a huge variety of experts around the world who share their wisdom and offer ways to enhance, fine-tune and even transform your life. He recently published a celebratory podcast with his Media and Content Manager, Bianca La Cioppa, highlighting his most popular podcasts for the year. You can listen to Sam’s Anniversary Podcast here where you are sure to discover a few areas of inspiration.
Fifteen minutes of news a day, or half an hour every second day, will keep us up to date without sinking us into negativity. It’s important to keep focused on as much good as possible, and what we can do rather than the helplessness associated with what we can’t do.
It’s important to stay informed, but too much news is bad news for your emotional and mental health.
As Joan Borysenko, PhD, explains, “Trauma secretes cortisol. High levels of cortisol are cytotoxic, which means they kill cells in the hippocampus". Borysenko explains though that through a process called neurogenesis, new neurons can grow in the hippocampus, restoring our mental and emotional wellbeihg.
Borysenko notes this is a very active field of medical research. And what research has discovered is there is a hormonal growth factor known as Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which helps restore the brain, and the entire body.
BDNF rewires the brain and restores the hippocampus, which is the part of our brain damaged by stress or trauma. Neurogenesis, brain rewiring and brain growth occurs through BDNF. Joan explains what increases BDNF. I have summarised it below.
How to increase BDNF and recover brain healing and function:
Sleep. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep. Most adults need 8 hours sleep. If you need help consider the Deep Sleep & Relaxation Hypnotherapy here. Alternatively, the Calm App allows you to choose sound combinations that soothe you.
Water. Drinking 2 litres of water a day provides a broad array of health benefits. You can read about the benefits of drinking enough water here.
If you feel like you need support it's important that you reach out. Please feel free to contact Lyn at Harmony Hypnotherapy if you'd like to consider ways in which Clinical Hypnotherapy and working with the unconscious mind can support you.
If you're financially challenged at the moment there are lots of organisations that are there to support you. This article lists the top 30 mental health organisations. Some great organisations are Beyond Blue, Lifeline and Headspace.
If you would like the support of a Psychologist, you can talk to your GP about obtaining a Mental Health Care Plan. Many Psychologists are bulk billing at the moment for over the phone sessions. With your Mental Health Care Plan, you will receive 10 Psychology sessions. Headspace explains how you would go about getting a Mental Health Care Plan here.
Disclaimer. Lyn Megan Macpherson is not a medical doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist, and does not claim to be one. She therefore holds no legal liability for the choices of readers who are encouraged to make informed decisions and seek medical advice if required.
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