Coping with confinement
One of our Parent Champions writes about how her and her family have been coping with lockdown.
I got into my car today, turned the ignition and reversed out of the garage. The radio came on with cheery, Summery music and everything felt normal. It took a few minutes to realise that it wasn’t. There were fewer cars on the road, the pub’s beer garden was deserted. People stood queuing to get into the supermarket. People were guarded, donned with facemasks and rubber gloves. It was almost as if making eye contact was forbidden.
I thought about the many people who suffer from anxiety, myself included, and what had helped me to stay grounded so far. There is no doubt about it that Coronavirus is scary and the crisis feels as though it has been going on for ever. There is little else on the news. All we hear is ‘stay at home’, ‘stay alert’, ‘wash your hands’ and ‘avoid contact’. If you suffer from health anxiety, any cough, shiver or feeling of malaise can send you into panic.
I’ve found that one of the best things that you can do during this pandemic, as well as trying to stay calm and following government guidance, is to try and keep busy. Keeping busy occupies your mind and stops you thinking about the crisis that we are going through. No matter what situation you are in, whether you’re in a flat or a house, there is plenty that you can do to keep your mind active.
At the start of the lockdown, what made a difference for me was encouraging my family to come up with a list of goals to work towards during the pandemic. So far, we have cleared out our wardrobes, exercised in the garden, painted the fence, and completed a whole host of DIY jobs! Trying to achieve something each day is what helps me, as does the routine of getting up, showered and dressed at the same time each morning.
Maybe think about what works for you and, as lockdown continues, come up with more ideas. How about cooking something new, posting a blog each day, researching something that interests you, trying new makeup techniques, learning a new skill (juggling, yoga or origami), even starting to write a novel? The internet is full of ideas and inspiration.
It is ok to feel concerned or scared, but also remember that everyone is in the same situation. Keep following the government advice to reduce the risk of you catching the Coronavirus. If it helps you, perhaps make sure you have a thermometer at home so you can check your temperature if you’re feeling unwell. If you’re someone who can get anxious, this is a good indicator as to whether you should be worried or not.
Throughout the pandemic, we have heard about the importance of daily exercise – even when it was limited to just once per day. So continue to do this, while also following the social distancing rules. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment, it’s great for the body and the mind. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the ‘feel good’ hormones!
Remember that this will end. It might seem like forever, but the Coronavirus statistics are falling and we will all look forward to normality again one day. We are all in this together. You only have to look at the many rainbows displayed in people’s windows to realise that this storm will be followed by a rainbow. That rainbow is full of colours. I remind myself, you don’t have to be blue – you can choose any colour you want!
If you are a parent or carer and looking for mental health support at this time you can visit our website for advice and resources.