It feels like an absolute lifetime since we all enjoyed a Covid-free life. No matter which way you turn you’re faced with the consequences of the ongoing global pandemic. It has affected everything from the way in which we interact with our fellow humans to the way that we buy our weekly groceries. Nothing is safe from the rampant nature of Coronavirus, and it doesn’t look like there is any conclusion to this ever-present threat on the horizon soon.
So are we destined to let Coronavirus dictate every single aspect of our existence until the scientists eventually come up with a vaccination?
Well in part, yes, but only certain to a certain degree.
There are some things that you can’t control. Primarily, you have to accept that the virus is indeed a reality and will be part of our society for the foreseeable future. At present, only the likes of New Zealand have got any kind of hold on managing the threat of the virus, while some of the richest countries in the world – the USA and my own territory the United Kingdom appear to be floundering in their response, with hospital admissions and nationwide death-rates continuing to rise at a frankly alarming rate.
That’s out of your control though. Apart from following the recommended advise from the government – washing your hands regularly, (Who wasn’t doing that in the first place?) wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and making space between yourself and others from other households or social bubbles – there’s little else you can do.
But that said, you should take the time to look after your own mental health and well-being.
For starters, it is important to remember that you cannot control the behaviour of other people, both within your own vicinity and around the wider world. As much as it can be frustrating when you see others refusing point-blank to follow the official rules on things such as face coverings – wearing one over their mouth but leaving their nose exposed, or worse still not wearing one at all – you getting all het up and angry about it isn’t going to make them behave any differently. All it’s actually going to do is raise your blood pressure and increase your levels of stress. So just ignore them. Let it go. They obviously have their own interpretation of the rules and they’re going to stick to it. As long as you’re following the rules correctly yourself, you’ll keep yourself protected and those in your own family unit too.
Secondly, I recommend limiting your news and current affairs input. The Coronavirus pandemic is understandably the lead story on almost every news bulletin right now, making it difficult to avoid. But that doesn’t mean you have to have it pumped into your veins like a drip at every hour of the day. I suggest picking one short news broadcast a day and sticking to it. That way you will keep up to date with any important developments or rule changes, but you’ll cap the amount of doom and gloom that you’re exposed to as well.
The same principle applies to social media exposure. I’ve noticed that my Twitter feed is increasingly dominated by Coronavirus content. Whether it’s celebrities that I’m following passing comment on the government’s handling of the crisis or the select few politicians that I choose to follow sharing facts and figures or damning evidence relating to the opposition.
It’s important to have a certain amount of intake of such content. After all, how can we ever form our own opinions without hearing the analysis and viewpoints of those directly and indirectly involved in a situation?
But too much can seriously affect our own stress levels and overall anxiety. So by all means take an interest, but don’t let it rule your time on your social media.
Thirdly, there is the increasingly tense political situation here in the UK. Everyone will of course have their own opinion of who is right and who is wrong with each and every aspect of the way the Conservative government have handled the Covid crisis. As a Labour voter my entire life I of course want Boris Johnson and his cabinet held to account. But at the same time I am also willing them to do the right thing. Whether that be in relation to paying NHS staff the salaries that they deserve or by providing adequate funding to support those businesses and individuals that are directly affected by the lockdown measures in different parts of the country.
We have to remember though that, no matter which way you voted, it’s a Conservative Prime Minister that’s currently residing in Number 10 and it’s the decisions that he and his cabinet make that ultimately decide how our daily lives will look over the next four years. So by all means have an opinion on them, question their judgements and constructively criticize their decisions. But don’t let your anger and disdain consume you, because the only person that such political point scoring will damage is you.
Ultimately, the key thing to remember as the Coronavirus crisis continues is to put your own health and mental wellbeing at the forefront of everything you do.
Practising good self-care is incredibly important at the best of times, but even more so while we’re living in the middle of a global pandemic. Of course it is important to stay informed to a certain degree but don’t let Coronavirus dominate your every living moment.
Settle down regularly for some much needed escapism. A book, a game, a movie or a favourite boxset are all great ways of removing yourself from the present situation and transporting yourself to a world. A walk in the countryside – especially at this time of year – is healthy for both body and mind or perhaps a nice, relaxing soak in the bath with a generous glass of wine?
Whatever you choose try and indulge yourself regularly.
So, here are 5 things to take away from all of this:
- Accept that you cannot control other people’s behaviour.
- Limit your news intake.
- Enjoy social media in a healthy way.
- Don’t get bogged down in political point scoring.
- Practise good self care.