Friday 20 March 2020

Remaining Positive

With the outbreak and overwhelm of the last week, I think it's very difficult to remain positive. The prospect of the unknown and also the feeling of knowing things have a potential to get a whole lot worse can be frightening. I have put together a little list of how I have being trying to keep a positive outlook and ways to keep my mind from wandering and worrying.

My number one has been keeping in contact with family and friends. This is the time where we all need to be checking in on each other and seeing if anyone needs a hand. My friendship group messages have never been so wild. There is no doubt there is an overall sense of worry and rightly so. People are terrified for their own families. The hardest thing that I have found is having to cancel all social gatherings. The way that my friends and I have overcome this is by using video chat. We have being using an app called Houseparty where you can have as many people as you want in the chat and also play games. Tonight we have a wine and video chat planned and I cannot wait.

It may sound obvious but reading has been an escape from reality. I have always loved reading, but I had massively got out of the routine of picking up a book. I bought myself some new books and every night before bed I have dedicated 30 minutes to reading. I have found it has massively reduced my anxious thoughts allowing me to sleep a lot easier and for longer.

I have dedicated some time during social distancing to start refocusing and dedicating time to blogging again. Finding something which you enjoy doing and most importantly something which you can focus your mind on can give you a sense of achieving. My biggest barrier has been that all my hobbies e.g. dancing have cancelled their classes meaning you can feel a little bit lost, which can easily lead to boredom and anxious thoughts. This could be the time to take up classes on YouTube, or like myself have put in my diary days where I going to get some fresh air whether that be going for a jog or just a walking around the local country park.

This is probably the most important of them all and definitely the hardest. Staying off your phone could be a daunting thought, but I have found that I have had to physically take myself off my Twitter feed. Honestly, this is the most damaging to your mental health. I think as I work on the front line of the NHS I know what to believe and what not to. However, I really worry for people believing so much untrue information which is re-surfing constantly on the internet. I have had family members and friends contacting me daily with worries as to what they have read. I understand how easy it is to be pulled into believing everything you read. I am not saying to not go on any social media, but I have actually found that Instagram has been the only platform which has been some form of escapism. Twitter and Facebook has been wild. A brilliant idea if you want to properly escape from it is to mute or ban all hashtags and word associated to the epidemic. It will probably leave you feed very bare, but it will allow for your mind to be free for a little while.

Even though I am carrying on with my daily work routine, whilst at home I have created a new little routine and I would encourage you to try and find one to suit yourself. Mine involves not staying in bed scrolling in the morning. Each night before bed I have made a to do list of what I need to get done the next day, and also a list of extra things I could get done over the week. This has kept my mind focused and actually leads to productivity. When I wake up I look at my to do list and organise it into a chronological order of rough timings for the day. Throughout the day I then re-look at the list and tick it off as I go which gives some sense of achievement.

I am no way trying to brush everything which is going on under the carpet. However, it is so important to look after both our physical and mental health. As things unravel and things change on a daily basis there it is definitely an overwhelming prospect of the unknown. I think this is why worry starts to build as we do not know what is going to happen next. If you are feeling lost or are filled with constant worry please reach out to someone.

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