COVID 19- Tips on how to deal with this pandemic
COVID 19- Tips on how to deal with this pandemic, A Clinical Psychologist perspective.
Like many of you, my plans for Christmas and the New Year fell flat and had to be let go due to the on-going rolling COVID-19 restrictions across the country. It has become a time for me as a psychologist to remember to “walk my talk”, that is after giving myself a few moments in adult tantie-land (shouting expletives with shaking fists and stamping feet)!!
The following are general tips for maintaining mental health and well-being during COVID-19 restrictions:
· Manage uncertainty by focusing on things you can control in the present moment and taking each day as it comes. Find beauty and gratitude in the everyday things you take for granted.
· Maintain connections, physically distant need not be socially distant.
· Be compassionate with yourself and others, understanding that during this unusual time none of us are likely to be our best selves all the time. None of us have done this before and there is no guidebook.
· Flexible routine is your friend. Routine helps to manage anxiety and flexible routines will help you adapt more quickly to change.
· Engage in activities you enjoy and that involve learning new skills/a sense of accomplishment. Become curious.
· Minimise listening to or watching the news. Avoid “doom-scrolling” the news and social media.
· Proactively manage your stress threshold à exercise, eat well, practice good sleep habits, minimise alcohol/drugs.
· Increase your time in green and blue spaces, the bush and the beach.
· Know your red flags. Identify the key thoughts or physical sensations that tend to contribute to your cycle of distress. Our thoughts (“so over this”), feelings (frustration), physical sensations (tension, jitters) and actions (checking COVID statistics 20 times a day) each feed into and amplify negative spirals. Address one aspect of the loop as soon as you recognise it to short-circuit the entire cycle. For example, leave the phone at home and go for a walk.