So, the Covid19 pandemic has really hit us this past week in the UK, and also in mainland Europe and US measures to restrict the effects have had to be ramped up. In the UK we are now strictly told to stay in our homes other than for getting food and medicine. Exercising outdoors is still allowed at the time being when you are alone or with your family and distance yourself from others.
I don’t think anyone can truly say that they are taking the news of the virus, pandemic, lockdown and social distancing in their stride. Personally, even if I have focused on staying calm and thinking rationally, I have also felt the past two weeks that I haven’t been quite myself and felt a bit paralysed.
I now feel, however I’m gaining back at least some of my normal function and want to share some of of my coping strategies to manage self-isolation or quarantine, which so many of us face. It’s early days now with a week or so behind us, so there might be a follow-up post as the situation continues.
1 Focus on what you can do
We are in our modern age so used to moving freely and deciding what we want to do ourselves that it’s quite hard to understand when those privileges are restricted or taken away. When we are told to not to leave the house unless it’s absolutely necessary, I think fighting back is a rather natural response. However, in the current situation we have to overcome this urge and do everything we can to stop the epidemic and stay home.
Instead of focusing on the ‘can’t’, it’s better to focus on the can. When your brain is looking for possibilities, you start to feel more creative.
2 Connect online
You can connect with your loved ones and friends over the phone or more modernly using different apps and software for video conferencing and you can keep doing your normal things while chatting away. Or you can have a virtual party and dress up for the occasion. My husband’s friend called that they are organising an online curry night which I think is a lovely idea.
In our choir, and many others, there’s also virtual sing-alongs and video-lead practice. The Rock Choir I am in hosts a daily singalong on their FB page at 3pm for everyone to join in. Many online influencers are organising hangouts in their social media in a more daily basis to connect with their followers. I love the creativity to connect safely this situation brings out in us all.
3 Bond with nature
In the UK the lockdown has limited the possibilities for outdoor activities, and I do think this is the right call to make for you can get crowded outdoors as well. We are allowed to go out for exercise if we keep away from others and it’s recommended these are short in duration. When you do go out, focus on observing the nature around you and the Spring moving forward. If you are somewhere in the world where it’s still allowed to roam outdoors, try going somewhere where you can enjoy nature properly, hear the birds and it is easy to keep away from others.
If you have a garden, I’m sure you are already potting around there. I ordered some soil online, so I could show the seeds I had bought earlier to give me and my daughter something to do and we can take care of the plants and watch them grow.
If you haven’t got a garden, you could still see if you can get supplies delivered to your home and sow pots for the window sill if you haven’t got a balcony. One can grow chillies, herbs, lettuce, cherry tomatoes etc. which will delight you with things to eat down the road. And remember to open the window and breathe fresh air. With less cars around, you might also hear birds singing.
4 Do things you never have time to do
Now is the perfect opportunity to do some of the things you always say you want to do but never get round to. Again, you can see if you are able to get things delivered for a DIY project. You could finally organise the photos that are boxed somewhere or make a photo book ready and order it later, or even delight your family members with those now if it’s possible.
Here’s a list of some of the other possibilities I came up with:
- Read the books you always wanted to (bookshelf, eBooks, audiobooks, libraries have online services but you have had to have registered in advance)
- Organise your surroundings in a new way (in a small flat or room this might be tricky but you might switch things round or make yourself a reading nook, a space for crafts etc.)
- Declutter cupboards and drawers
- Knitting, crochetting and other crafts
- Cooking lengthier recipes if you get hold of the ingredients
- Watch the box sets you have been meaning to for years
- Take an online course (language, meditation, photography, video editing…)
- Start learning an instrument (I know people ordering a guitar or ukulele online, harmonica and recorder come to mind as well…)
- Exercising at home (online resources are pretty much endless and you can even have classes where the instructor can see you and advice)
- With the frequent hand washing a home manicure is more than needed. Why not prepare a foot bath and do a pedicure as well? You can have a home Spa day!
So what do you think? As scary as the situation feels, I do think focusing on the things we can influence can help us through this pandemic. Remember to reach out to a friend or loved one and don’t bottle your feelings. I would personally avoid online rants, because the spread is in my mind almost equal to that of the virus… If you are feeling anxious and find it hard to cope, contact your GP or a mental health line for advice. Let’s stay safe and try to protect others by doing so!