The current Covid-19 pandemic is causing huge disruption around the world, with schools and workplaces closing, essential goods becoming scarce, and many countries imposing levels of social distancing and outright quarantine and lockdown that are unprecedented.
These are uncertain times. However, the impact of Covid-19 on people’s emotional and mental health extends beyond the limits of normal health anxiety; any forced change to our natural behavior can cause distress.[i]
From self-imposed social isolation to total lockdown, almost everyone around the globe is experiencing a new level of social isolation. With this isolation comes separation from our family and friends, an inability to pursue our normal social activities, and for many, a disruption to their normal work routine.
What’s important to remember at this difficult time is that you’re not alone, and the feelings you’re experiencing are normal and shared by people around the world – the World Health Organisation has released its own guide to mental health and psychosocial wellbeing during this pandemic and lockdown.
The Challenges Of A Quarantine
Natural concerns include:
- Lack of social contact
- Limited access to essential resources like fresh food – and possibly medicines
- Restrictions on outdoor play and exercise
- Worry for the health of your friends and family – especially when you can’t visit them
- Increased child or family care requirements
- Financial worries due to lost work time
Some of these can be reduced through practical action – stay up-to-date on official government guidelines for the best way to safely reduce the spread of disease, and stay in touch with your loved ones. The World Health Organization’s guidelines are a reliable source of current information. Being wary of your sources of information can be helpful – this means limiting the time you spend reading alarmist or unreliable information. The internet and even traditional media sources capitalize on shock and put out news that is both unhelpful and actually distressing.
Humans are social animals, so a total lockdown of the kind we’re seeing around the world can naturally put a strain on our emotional wellbeing.
We all need to get creative with the way we communicate. The internet can be one of our most powerful tools, maintaining a degree of connectivity at a safe, socially responsible distance. However, it should also be used with a degree of caution; social media, mobile phones, and near-constant connection can be addictive but can impact on our mental health.[ii]
Staying Healthy In A Lockdown – Ten Top Tips
- Routine, routine, routine – take some advice from someone who’s maintained physical and mental health while isolated and with no access to fresh air and outdoor space – an astronaut. His top tip is to make a schedule to maintain a reasonable level of normality – making sure you get up and go to bed at the right times for you. Sticking to a normal circadian rhythm – the way our bodies naturally follow the cycle of day and night – is well known to be good for mental and physical health.
- Eat well – again, this falls under the ‘routine’ advice – sticking to normal mealtimes is very important for mental and physical health. Eating as well as possible, and resisting the temptation to snack – through boredom, emotional eating habits, or just because you’re out of a routine – will help you stick to a good routine.
- Make time for socializing – just get creative. Global businesses have used teleconferencing facilities for years to work remotely, now we can use it for seeing our friends and family. Online communications apps like Zoom have seen a massive surge in downloads, following the sweep of isolation orders across the world. People are using this kind of technology to stream gigs and entertainments that would have been live – a social venue in your home.
- Stock up on essential items – As we have seen on the news, some people have frantically stockpiled essentials. We do not have to panic, but it is wise to stock up on necessary items. Make sure you know where you can get non-perishable foods and medications. Online shopping is still available. Pharmacies and essential stores remain open, and if you’re under quarantine, get advice on getting supplies in your local area.
- Focus on the positives – It is very difficult to attempt a shift in perception when you’re feeling down, but there are positives to focus on. There have been hundreds, perhaps thousands, of small mutual aid groups set up to try and identify ways of helping vulnerable people. Governments are taking positive action to help homeless people stay quarantined, providing meals, tents, and places to stay to enable these vulnerable people to stay safe while quarantined. Adversity can bring out the best in people.
- Get dressed – Don’t let the lockdown stop you from living a “normal” life. Treat your days as normally as you can. Get washed, get dressed, be presentable for yourself. You’ll feel better.
- Stay active, and focus on practical tasks – With this forced hiatus in your normal life, perhaps you can finally do that DIY project you’ve been putting off (but carefully – it should go without saying that you need to avoid hospitals unless you really, really need them). Or allot time for a creative task – write, draw, sing, cook.
- Give yourself a break – Use the lockdown as an opportunity to do housework and other tasks you haven’t had time for until now. But remember: it’s okay to have a few days off to chill and relax without feeling guilty.
Don’t Let The Lockdown Knock You Down
This could be a good time, at this difficult period, to learn more about emotional healing and how you can make active, positive changes in your life and approach your emotional health in a proactive way. The Budwig Center uses a range of emotional healing techniques that are essential for healthy mental and emotional grounding.
For example, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is an excellent practice that helps balance the emotions and helps you feel present amidst stressful circumstances. Carol Look, EFT Master, Author, and Speaker recently sent out an email with the following advice:
Just… be… still.
Not forever, maybe for 2 minutes after you read this newsletter… Not forever, but maybe 10 minutes a day. It will absolutely reduce your feeling of being overwhelmed and scattered.
When you are still, you become present to what’s happening inside of you. When you are present to what’s happening inside of you, you can feel your emotions rather than react to what’s going on in the outside world. When you feel your emotions, you will finally stop racing around in an attempt to avoid emotional discomfort.
If you haven’t wanted to feel your emotions, that may be why you’ve been getting overwhelmed, being unclear and creating a lot of busy work.
All this sudden enforced quiet time isn’t what you bargained for – working from home, staying inside, minimum trips for food or supplies – it’s not the way 2020 was supposed to be.
Having all these opportunities to be more quiet and still can feel beyond weird, and even threatening to your nervous system.
I invite you to start practicing being still. Because if you can’t be still, you can’t find your next yes. And if you can’t find your next yes, you won’t make the right decisions to live your best life.
So first things first.
Just… be… still.
To find out more about EFT and the other emotional healing techniques we offer at the Budwig Center, contact us.
And don’t forget to Download our FREE Budwig Guide to learn more about the Budwig Diet and Protocol.
Sources and References
[i] https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/dz5v2 Hossain, M.M., Sultana, A., and Purohit, N., 2020. Mental health outcomes of quarantine and isolation for infection prevention: A systematic umbrella review of the global evidence.
[ii] Meshi, D., Cotten, S.R. and Bender, A.R., 2020. Problematic social media use and perceived social isolation in older adults: a cross-sectional study. Gerontology, 66(2), pp.160-168. https://doi.org/10.1159/000502577