page contents

You can’t move at the moment without someone mentioning the corona virus (Covid19). It is all over the news, newspaper and of course, social media. As with any big news story there are some who are being very flippant and making jokes about it and others who are panicking. 

I’m no expert in this virus but what I do know is that there is a lot of fear in the world at the moment. It is particularly affecting those most vulnerable. I have heard children talking to each other, terrified they are going to die, the elderly concerned because they are scared of contracting it but they need to do some shopping. Worst of all, for me are the tales of vital equipment like masks and hand gels being stolen from hospitals. The one place where these items are essential. Unfortunately fear often brings out the worst in people.

Corona Virus

I decided that this was a topic I should cover last night when I learned that the World Health Organisation had declared Covid19 to be a pandemic (meaning an outbreak of a virus or other illness that is worldwide not just localised to one country or region). This has led to more large events being cancelled and travel plans being changed for many. 

There is a lot of information out there about how to protect yourself from the physical symptoms of the virus, but I wanted to talk about the emotional and wellbeing aspects.

How can our mental wellbeing health be affected by corona virus?

We are being told to self isolate if we suspect we may have the virus. This in itself can cause lots of psychological responses. Many people will feel scared of being alone if they are ill, they will worry how they are going to feed themselves, if they are unable to get to the shops what will they eat (hence the panic buying of dried and canned foods). There are also concerns about money for many people. If you are self employed or on a zero hours contract you won’t get paid if you don’t work. Many people are concerned that if schools start to shut in large numbers they will have to take prolonged periods off work. Of course lots of people rely on grandparents for childcare in these circumstances but we know that they may be in a much higher risk category so that may not be an option.

Of course the people most at risk are those already struggling with anxiety and mental health issues. They live in a permanent state of fear and times of additional stress can be terrifying. But even those with relatively good mental health can be suddenly overcome with anxiety at times like this. Particularly if you have any underlying health issues which might be affected by this virus, or maybe you are self employed and worried about the impact on your business.

The importance of staying calm

What we do know though is that you will fight the corona virus, should you come into contact with it, much more efficiently if you are caring for your mental health. It is know scientifically proven that people who meditate regularly and who keep their stress levels lower have a more robust immune system and that all they are much more resistant to any infections and bugs doing the rounds. 

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel because this video by Joe Dispensa covers all the science. It is only around 3 minutes long but it explains perfectly the physiological impact of meditation and mindfulness on our immune system. Please do take the time to watch it and take in what is being said. This is science.

If we stay calm, we keep healthier.

 

How can you help yourself, or others, who may be struggling at this time? 

Stay connected/Check in on them.

It is so simple, but so important to stay connected to the world. Try to stick to your routine as much as possible. Check that others are ok too. Obviously if they are in quarantine you will want to call or text, but just a 5 minute phone call helps someone feel they aren’t alone. Perhaps they need something from the shops. If you are able to go for them you can always arrange to leave things on the doorstep if you are really worried. Be a good friend. Be a good neighbour. Care for each other.  

Stick to reliable sources of information

I tend to work on a need to know basis with anything negative. Obviously this is now starting to impact our lives around the world, but make sure that you are looking for reliable information and guidelines, not Steve on Facebook who knows everything about it (unless it’s medical doctor Steve!). Limit the amount of information you take in because watching every bit of news unfold can definitely induce panic. I would even go as far as saying, distance yourself from people who are scare mongering too. 

Be prepared 

Make sure you have a few essentials in, just in case you do have to self quarantine but please don’t go mad stockpiling. This only causes more panic and affects those who are already most vulnerable to food poverty. If you are living hand to mouth you can’t stock pile food. Make sure you have a few essentials but please, don’t go mad. 

As well as being prepared for quarantine from a food and provisions point of view, think about what you will do if schools are closed due to the corona virus. Make sure you know how you will cope if your children have to be at home for anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. You may still be able to go to work but who will look after them?

Consider whether you are able to keep working but from home should you need to. If you are self employed can you use technology to enable to you keep working almost as normal. I know people who are doing meetings virtually and teaching using online tools. Obviously this isn’t possible for all jobs but consider how you could change your work model to minimise disruption.

Take a deep breath

 I know I talk a lot about the importance of breathing when you are anxious or stressed but it really works. If you can just use a very simple breathing technique like 7/11 breathing or finger breathing to help you calm down you will feel better, think more rationally and strengthen your immune system. If you meditate anyway, make sure you are keeping up that practice, we know from the video how beneficial that can be for strengthening your immune system.

Embrace the opportunity to rest

I know it isn’t ideal being ill, and there may be underlying concerns you have about the situation, but if you do have to self quarantine try to embrace the opportunity to rest. Read that book you haven’t had chance to read. Binge watch the series everyone has been talking about. Catch up on sleep. Listen to music. Give your body time to heal.

Most importantly though for now, try to stay calm. Follow the guidelines regarding hand washing etc but make sure you are eating healthily, getting enough sleep and giving your body the best chance to fight the corona virus or any other illness you may be exposed to. 

This will pass but we can all make the process easier and safer by taking care of ourselves and those around us. Let’s choose kindness and compassion over selfishness and greed.

 

For more information about Corona Virus please visit the WHO website.

Staying mindful in a crisis

 

Subscribe To My Newsletter

Sign up now to get your free ebook "Start your day with 5 mindful minutes" and get regular newsletters with techniques and advice about living a more mindful and meaningful life. Take that first step to be the hero of your own story!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

%d bloggers like this: