Looking after 'You' during COVID-19. Hints, Tips and Advice to Take Care of Your Wellbeing.
Updated: May 21, 2020
My mission is to help support you through this COVID-19 period as much as I possibly can.
My aim is not only to help you 'survive' this time, my aim is to help you find the positives, to seize the opportunities and at the end of all this, to have created a balance and a lifestyle that works for you. To help you to thrive.
This will be a different start, middle and endpoint for each of you.
I will share out generic resources to help across my social media channels, however, if you want to book a call in to talk through this 1:1 then please do.
This offer is also open to your friends, family and colleagues.
Please do invite them to like/follow the social media pages or join the mailing list so that they can also access the free content.
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A couple of weeks ago, just before the lockdown was brought in, I recorded a Facebook live to talk through some hints, tips and advice on how you can look after yourself mentally, physically and emotionally during the coming weeks.
As many of you prefer a blog to a vlog I thought I would capture some of the key points.
Looking after our mental health is going to need to be a priority, more now than ever before.
We have an opportunity to create some habit and behaviour changes that will positively impact our mental health, and these are habits that we can continue, long after this is over.
Look for the opportunities within the 'forced' changes. The government enforced lockdown has forced a change of routine. This has meant that we have had change what was familiar to us, change from what was our 'normal' and create something new.
The restrictions have given us all an opportunity to try something different, to break the habits and behaviours that are no longer useful to us and to create new behaviours that will help take us to where we want to be.
We all had a different starting point and we will all be impacted by this in different ways.
We will also all have a different desired ending point.
Having a positive outlook can make all the difference in how we pass through this situation. The situation itself is not positive, however, there are positives within it when we look for them. Look for acts of kindness, look for the stories of human kindness and positive impacts. How is the world being seen differently?
Filter how often you see it. Turn off notifications. Use the 'Do not Disturb' r content. Consider muting accounts, words and people if you need to.
Unfollow until this passes.
Filter how often you see it. Turn off notifications. Use the 'Do not Disturb' functionality so that you are not 'called' to your phone, you can check media on your own terms.
What you look at will fill your headspace. Ask yourself:
Is it useful?
Is it helpful?
Why am I following this?
People are already noticing an increase in their time spent on social media. How can you keep control of this? I have removed some apps from my phone. Alternatively set a timer or only check during certain times of the day.
We need to be kept updated during this time, however, we don't need to follow every news and media channel to be able to stay up to date. Follow one account that gives you the information you need. Consider where you want to know, where you need to get your information from, and how frequently you need this information.
Corona is currently a 'Conversation take over'. It is dominating most conversations as well as social media timelines. Make sure you give yourself some time out from Corona chat. Tell people if you want to change the subject, shape the conversations to something that feels more positive for you.
Overwhelm can creep in when this dominates the conversation. Be assertive in your behaviour to ask people to talk about something else. Don't be shy in explaining that you would like to change the subject and talk about something more positive. You might find that people will appreciate a change of topic!
Be kind, respectful and considerate to other peoples viewpoints and perceptions. People will have their own thoughts, opinions and feelings on what is happening. Be considerate to the fact that they may see things in a different way to you.
You do not have control over, or the right, to even try to control how people respond to this. Some people will be anxious, some people will play it down, different coping strategies for different people. You will see many experts telling people what they should be doing or should stop doing. There is not a 'right, wrong or better way'. Find what works for you. Review what is working and expect to adapt and change as we move through this.
Finding a new normal to shift into and make work for us is what is important right now.
Our 'normal' before was different for all of us so we should expect that our new 'normal' will be different too.
Government guidelines will dictate and shape some of the change. Some changes will not be out of choice and this will be more challenging for some. We will accept and adapt to these changes at different speeds. Again, there is no right or wrong way, the speed you move through the acceptance of change is what works for you. Focus on what you are moving towards and be conscious of the signs that you are moving in the right direction. Trust that you will get there and that this will get easier and eventually this will pass.
People have the right to have an emotional response to how they feel about this. They have the right to respond to this whichever way they choose. We have to be respectful and understanding of how they respond in the same way we would want and expect people to respect and try to understand how we feel.
We can give suggestions of what we feel may help, shared experiences and ideas can be both supportive and helpful however as everyone is facing this it feels so much bigger as everyone is working through this together.
Most of us don't normally have to plan and prepare for the possibility of becoming ill, or with an illness that potentially we could pass on to family member and have to isolate and quarantine from. Many of us don't even stop and think about becoming unwell, when it happens we respond and react as and when it happens. We deal with it and people help support us through it.
The unusual element to this (well, one of!) is that we are all planning for the same thing. Statistically, we are all likely to be impacted by this, albeit in varying levels/ways, so we are all planning for something similar and risk assessing how we feel this may impact us. Because of the way the brain works this can feel very real, and very much in the present. This is another reason why it is important to not fill your entire day and head space with this and try to find time in your day to be 'corona free' and feel that sense of normality.
Use set periods of time to sit and plan and have a conversation with work or family members. Do you need to do anything differently? Do you need to make any changes to the plans you have made?
When we plan for the ifs, buts, maybes, and 'coulds' and 'shoulds' of the future it can feel very present and real.
With lots of changes and new messages coming out in these early days, people (with good intentions) are trying to share information and advice and helpful suggestions and so this can also feed into the overwhelm and anxiety as we add this to the list of things we need to think about and consider.
We are all in a different place on the changecurve. We are all in different places and so, therefore, responding in different ways and with different emotions. Some people are still in denial and some people in the stages of trying to work out their new normal.
Being aware of where you are on the change curve, and those around you can be helpful.
With many of us now working from home we have had to establish a new routine, especially for those with childcare and/or homeschooling to manage as well. This has not only changed the environment that we work in it has also changed how active we now are.
Closure of gyms and sports facilities has resulted in us no longer having access to places where we would have been active.
Working from home can mean significantly less movement. This is something that we look into in our 'Thrive' self-improvement group and I can move less than 100 steps on an admin day. This is a significant reduction in a natural movement to the days when I am out and about meeting clients.
Your daily walk or activity is now even more important. Get out into fresh air, your garden if you can, locally if you can't, and stay within the current guidelines (at time of reading this). This may be frustrating and it may not be what you are used to however it is in place for a reason and there are many alternatives to staying active as an interim measure to protect your health and the health of others.
There are numerous Youtube accounts for free activities and social media is now full of live or video activities that you can join in on. If all else fails, crank up the volume of your favourite playlist and dance around. Get moving, get active, get the heart rate up.
Make sure you have your water bottle with you, stay hydrated and don't fall off the 'water wagon'.
Sleep will always be important however this is another one that needs to be a priority. Keep your sleep pattern routine as much as possible, and if there is room for improvement then focus this as an area of change over the coming weeks.
Now more than ever you should be prioritising eating for health. Good food containing all those vitamins and minerals you need to help keep your immune system active.
Now more than ever focusing on your physical health is important, seize the opportunities to bring in some habits and behaviours that will help you to improve your physical health.
This is a new experience for us all, a new experience is going to result in higher emotions as we learn how to respond to this.
Expect emotions to run high for people.
Nobody knows how to deal with this, it is 'unprecedented' so we are all trying to work this out and nobody has all of the answers.
Responses are ranging from 'denial' to 'overthinking' and every response in between.
Don't let people tell you how to respond, no matter how many followers they have!
An emotional response is normal. We will all respond in different ways, the important thing is not holding on to an emotional response that is not healthy or helpful to you.
Is the response helpful to deal with the situation you are in? If the answer is no, then you need to find a state that is helpful.
How do you normally change state? Can you still do this within the guidelines and restrictions? e.g. music, activity, phone a friend.
Managing your emotional state during this time is going to be really important to support your mental and emotional wellbeing. Being able to change to a positive and useful state that helps you manage this time as best as possible will help support you working through this with a positive outcome.
Check that you have a routine in place that supports what you need to do to empty the stress bucket. Check the schedule with those around you to ensure that everyone has something in place help reduce stress levels and re-energise.
If you are an extrovert (need to be with people to re-energise) then video calls will help the feeling of connection. Check that you have something in place to make sure that are you getting your people fix and regular contact.
For those of us who are an introvert (need to be alone to re-energise) then the physical distancing is less impactive for us. However, even as introverts, we need to make sure that we are getting our own space and timeout with everyone else now at home.
Remember, this is trial and error!
At the end of each week, reflect and review what has gone well, and what hasn't gone aswell that you will need to try something different the following week.
Keep building on what is working, be kind and patient with yourself and others as you work it out.
Survive to Thrive
As we move through each week we will start to move out of survival mode. We will stop fighting to 'get back' or hold on to the 'old normal' and we will start to find and create a new normal.
We will flow, evolve and continue to move forward.
To support us being able to do this I believe these questions need reflection and consideration.
Refect and Review
What needs (physiological and psychological) do you need to meet in a different way?
What values are being challenged and how can you help align them in a different way?
Challenge to Change
What do you want your 'new normal' to look like?
What are you moving towards?
How can you use this opportunity to make self-care your priority and replace the behaviours and habits no longer useful to you?
More Help and Support
The Phoenix APP is now on both Android and iOS
Start tracking, Start changing!
Search 'Phoenix Planner' on your APP Store, download it for free and use the app to help you stay consistent with the behaviour and habit changes that will help you improve your health and wellbeing.
Ready to take the next step and really focus on you?
Join us on the next online programme as we help you to improve yourself mentally, physically and emotionally, find balance and thrive in the life that you choose.
Find out more HERE