Just want to share some of the things that are helping me to cope with the covid-19 pandemic and all the ensuing craziness.
Only consuming covid-19 news during work hours
There is so much information out there about coronavirus that it’s utterly overwhelming. So, I’ve made the call that I will only consume covid-19 news during work hours. This gives me some headspace away from the panic and chaos in my home and weekend time, allowing me to recharge my batteries as best I can. The past two weekends have been really lovely and have felt quite normal, despite what’s happening in the world.
Staying up-to-date from reliable information sources
There is lots of information out there, but not all of it is good information. I’ve focused on tuning in to the latest updates from leaders (eg Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein’s daily press conference) as well as the insights of experts (eg via the ABC’s new daily podcast Coronacast which features physician Dr Norman Swan and health journalist Tegan Taylor, podcast This Won’t Hurt A Bit’s special covid-19 episode). I am trying to limit the amount of time I spend scrolling through Facebook and news websites. The information which pops up on these is not always reliable and tends to be sensationalist – the whole point is to catch your attention.
Staying connected with family and friends
I may be as good as trapped on my little island home of Tasmania, but I am staying connected with family and friends through messages and calls. I am talking to my parents and brother more regularly than I was previously (now basically every day) and have been in touch with a number of friends, whether it’s me checking in on them, or them on me, or both. It’s so important for my mental health that I remain socially connected even when I am feeling uncertain and somewhat anxious. It also reminds me that it’s normal to feel uncertain and somewhat anxious at a time like this because this is how my family and friends are feeling too. That sense of all being in this together has been really reassuring and important for me in managing my emotions at this time.
Going for a walk
This is one of my normal activities I can thankfully still do at present. Getting out for a walk helps to make me feel more normal for many reasons. I can have safe (ie 1.5m distance between us) interaction with fellow human beings via a smile or greeting who aren’t my housemates or colleagues. I can breathe deeply the fresh, clean air. I can connect with the natural environment which remains just as it was before covid-19 hit, reminding me that this too shall pass. Going for a walk is also a great way to get out of my own head because there are so many things to look at, hear, smell and feel.
Cooking good food
I was doing this before the pandemic hit, but it’s become even more important in the present climate. Each weekend, I cook up two big batches of food. Last weekend this was a pot of pumpkin soup and a pot of vegie-full chilli beans with rice which I am gradually eating my way through. Getting good nutrition is really important for both my mental health (your brain doesn’t function anywhere near as effectively if you’re not well nourished) and physical health (managing fatigue and pain, reducing my risk of contracting covid-19 and reducing the risk of severe illness if I do contract it). It’s also calming to have this established routine in my life to continue with amidst all the other uncertainties.
Watching animal videos
So I’m not really a fan of zoos, but I have been watching Melbourne Zoo’s live Snow Leopard Cub Cam and Penguin Cam recently. The cubs and penguins are very cute and it’s nice to have something purely pleasurable to turn to when so many activities, even going to the store, require you to think through your hygiene practices and be constantly aware of your environment.
Even if it’s just for 15 minutes, giving myself some time to stretch out my body, work my muscles and return my attention to my breath is proving extremely important and useful at the moment.
Hope some of these suggestions and links might be useful to you.
Love, hope and peace from Emma.