These are challenging times for us all. The fear and uncertainty of a 4-week lockdown and how this will impact us all can constantly play on our minds. How will this affect our families? Affect our financial situation? What about how we function as a country? And even global implications? But even more importantly – how will this affect our mental health. We have been advised to remain at home for the vast majority of 4 weeks (except for solitary exercise and supermarket trips). I strongly encourage you to adhere to the guidance by the government – by staying at home we’re saving lives.
It can also be daunting thinking about self-isolation for 4 weeks. Anxiety, worry or depression can be just a few of the emotions that people face. I’ve recently read an article by Russ Harris (author of The Happiness Trap) who covers some practical steps in responding to the Corona situation, I thought I would share a couple of points which may help you all below.
Often in times like these, we can get caught up in “what if”.
“What if I can’t pay my mortgage?”
“What if my family gets the virus?”
“What if we get confined for another 4 weeks?”
It’s important to recognise what you can and can’t control, getting lost in thoughts and ruminating about issues that cannot be currently solved is not productive or helpful. Focus on what is in your control. It’s hard to manage thought and feelings but our behaviour is much easier to control.
Russ outlines the following to enable us to do just that – give it a go – I have found these techniques very useful when things seem to be getting on top of you:
1) Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings when you recognise that you are ruminating on issues that are outside of your control
2) Come back into your body to connect physically. Try slowly breathing, pressing your fingertips together, shrugging your shoulders
3) Engage in what you are doing and refocus your attention. Try noticing 3 -4 things that you can hear, look around the room for 5 things you can see, notice what you are doing at the time
If you run through this 3-4 times, you can turn it into a 3-minute exercise. Learning a skill like this can be very useful in handling difficult thoughts, emotions or memories. The better you anchor yourself, the more control you have over your actions. Think about simple ways to look after yourself and those living with you? Help out with the cooking or a chore, play a board game with your kids.
Speaking of kids, be kind to yourself – you need to take good care of yourself in order to take good care of others. Whether you are a caregiver to someone young or old, make sure you take time out for yourself – it’s difficult when we are all in self-isolation but even a walk in the fresh air can do wonders and give us perspective.
It’s been very hectic at the pharmacy over the last couple of weeks. I would encourage you all to read my previous email in regards to the changes that we have implemented. I would also like to reassure you that we will remain open during all COVID-19 alert levels. I appreciate your understanding during this time as the team has been under immense pressure to get your prescriptions and medicines to you. So thank you again!
Stay safe, stay at home,