Coronavirus – Strange Days Indeed


Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed — strange days indeed

(John Lennon)

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic profound changes to our normal way of living have taken place, potentially impacting our health and emotional well-being. Everything that we may have taken for granted has now been shaken up. And this process is continuing at pace. Every day we are seeing new developments, involving new demands on us as individuals and on our relationships.

What can we do to protect our emotional and mental well-being at this time?

1. Research has shown that social connection is important because it can improve both psychological and physical health. People who feel more connected with others have lower rates of anxiety and depression. Research has also shown that positive social connections can strengthen our immune system.

However, at the current time we are being told to socially distance and isolate ourselves. This means that we need to develop more creative ways of connecting with others, (including those people to whom we haven’t spoken to in a while) e.g. catching up with friends using online systems such as Facetime, Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp, etc.

This could include:

  • a virtual coffee date on Skype,
  • several households watching a TV program together online,
  • a virtual concert or gig,
  • author interviews on Instagram.

Or perhaps using some of the more traditional methods, which can include:

  • picking up the telephone,
  • writing letters,
  • conversations over the garden fence (whilst maintaining the guidelines on safe social distancing).

Both Italy and Spain have demonstrated innovative ways of connecting with their neighbours whilst keeping themselves safe.

There are plenty of inspiring examples of people reaching out to others and showing kindness to people who are in need. This can benefit both the person receiving the support and also the helper. Ultimately, this may lead us to connecting with our local community in new and innovative ways.

2. Your emotional, mental and physical health are all linked. So, consider creating a routine for yourself that prioritises these areas. Try to focus on self-care, eat healthy meals, get enough sleep (try not to binge on box sets into the small hours) and go for a walk if you can, or if not, go and spend some time in your garden if you have one, and perhaps do some light gardening.

Try to create some space for yourself as an individual for quiet activities such as reading, meditating, journaling, Yoga/Pilates and exercise. You will find free resources for Mindfulness, Creative Visualisation and Hypnotherapy on my websites.

Be careful not to develop or rely on negative coping strategies through abusing alcohol, food, drugs, online gambling, online shopping, etc. If you feel that this is an area of concern for you, then please consult a Counsellor/Psychotherapist for some support.

3. Because we are not sure how long the measures to combat the virus will take, it may be helpful to set some goals. Think to yourself – What would I like to achieve today, this week, in 3 months’ time? E.g. you may want to learn a new skill or language, start a hobby, or rethink your home environment to ensure that it is a comfortable, welcoming space.

4. Pay attention to your relationship with your partner and others in the household. Be open about what this period means for you all and set reasonable expectations for everyone in the household. Take time to talk to your children in age appropriate ways about what is happening. Reassure them that they are safe and that they can talk to you if they have any worries.

The normal activities that you may enjoy with your family may be curtailed or limited for the time being, but try to avoid allowing people to feel isolated or lonely within the home. If you are working from home, set appropriate boundaries and switch off your computer at a reasonable time. Take some time to come together for meals and to talk and relax together. Share some family time by watching fun TV programmes, doing games and puzzles.

Finally, don’t forget to have some quiet time with your partner that is kept away from the topic of the Coronavirus. Perhaps this could be some time to talk about future plans and expectations going forward, so that you can maintain a level of perspective on what is happening. How about having a date night inside your home with your partner? Or a virtual date night if you are both doing social distancing?

Remember that ‘this too shall pass’. We will come through this and there is help and support that is available. All change involves losses and gains. We may well experience loss along the way but ultimately, we may realise gains that we hadn’t expected.

You may find the following websites helpful: