There is no doubt that things are getting a little weird around here. It’s like living in an episode of Alice in Wonderland; you are used to the way things are, then suddenly you find that the ground has disappeared from under your feet and nothing is as it was before. The full effects or the pandemic are only just dawning on us, as businesses are closed, those that remain open have few customers and some, like me, are having to learn like crazy to take their businesses online.
Although Covid 19 is a physical illness, only serious for a small percentage of our population, its mental affects are far greater. With small business owners and those on zero hour contracts facing little or no income in the coming weeks, students who are revising for summer exams wondering if they will be prepared enough, or whether they will even go ahead and those who are at risk afraid to leave their homes, the outlook for the immediate future could seem quite bleak.
So what can we do?
To maintain or even improve our quality of life and our mental wellness, there are certain things we can do. Remember that you are in control of the way that you think, feel, respond and react.
1. Notice what you still have.
It is very easy for the negative thoughts and feelings to take over and, as a result, for everything to seem hopeless. It can be helpful to write things down (I will go into this a little more in the next point). You might like to use a heading like ‘What is good in my life right now.’ It’s worth noting that the bedrocks of human life are: food, water, shelter, love, community and contribution. If this was your only measure of success, how well off would you be?
2. Make plans for the future
Uncertainty is uncomfortable and we don’t know how long the uncertainty is going to last, which makes us doubly uncertain! But it isn’t going to last forever. Use this pause in your year to plan. What do you want to do? What changes do you want to make? Again, writing your plans will help. When you write things down two things happen. The first one is obvious and is called external storage. You have your plan on a piece of paper that can be put somewhere prominent and is available to view at any time. I certainly don’t need to tell you why that will help you to remember what you wanted to do.
Here is where it gets more interesting. The second thing that happens is called encoding. Encoding is a biological process, where the things we perceive, travel to the hippocampus in our brain to be analysed. There a decision is made about what we keep and what we throw away. Writing something down improves the chances of something being kept in the long term memory.
3. Make Memories
Finally, one of our basic human needs is connection. We can use this unusual opportunity to make deeper connections with those around us. Even if we live alone, technology gives us an opportunity to connect with friends and loved ones. Talk more, ask deeper questions. Those who are in isolation with their families can take time to make memories. Why not plan movie nights, play board games or make things together? When all of the busy-ness starts again, you will have something special to look back on.
For more ideas of things to do go to my events page