In 2014 Bill Gates predicted that the biggest threat to humanity would come in the form of a virus and that we would not be ready.  

Sadly, he was right and here we are amid the global Covid-19 pandemic and the world has become a very frightening place. The life we enjoyed before may never be the same again; I find myself watching TV programmes where people are eating in restaurants, socialising in bars, travelling on planes and trains and I find myself wondering when we will be able to safely live life again out-with our own four walls. I have stopped watching the news other than the headlines once a day as I am finding it too distressing. Of course, I want to keep informed but the wall to wall media coverage does increase anxiety significantly and I am trying to stay calm (not succeeding very well!).

The way we worked before the world locked down was, for most, frantic; no down time, limited quality family time and no time for the body to rest mentally or physically resulting in stress, depression and illness. This pandemic has put a halt to the frenetic pace of life but brings with it a lot of uncertainty and fear. How do we manage this?

I am sure many of you will be feeling ‘at sea’ right now which is extremely challenging. Having kids to home school may become the ‘new norm’ for a while yet and juggling, work (in its new  ‘at home’ format for many);  becoming a teacher (over-night), caring for family, job uncertainty and the difficulty in shopping for food whilst keeping sane is incredibly hard and this list is only the beginning….

Whilst I fully recognise the devastation that this virus has and continues to cause I would like to try and focus on some of the positive things that are emerging for my own mental health and hopefully I may help others along the way.

A few positives I have noticed and heard others talk about are:

  • Spending time that you would not ordinarily have with your loved ones.
  • Reading the many books that you perhaps you started but didn’t finish.  
  • Being creative – which takes many forms and can involve the kids too.
  • In a weird way the natural world is being given ‘a break’.
  • The recent call for NHS Volunteer Responders has had an overwhelming response with the recruitment currently suspended whilst the initial 750,000 applications are processed. 
  • Communities coming together to support one another.
  • The recognition that we are all vulnerable.
  • Taking the recommended exercise out with the home which may encourage those to continue after lockdown.

Some questions I have asked myself are:

  • What did I take for granted?
  • Are there any positives that can come from this unprecedented situation?
  • Where does society go from here?

I would like to extend grateful thanks to all NHS staff, all health and social care workers and all the other frontline workers who are risking their lives to ensure we are cared for.

There is no getting away from the fact that this is tough… mentally, physically, economically and socially but we must find ways of coping. There are some great support apps, physical activity online classes which are free, mental wellbeing etc. I have listed a few down below. Remember it is important that YOU find your own way of coping during these challenging times.   

Mental Wellbeing Links

MIND www.mind.org.uk

NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/

Mindfulness https://www.headspace.com/mindfulness

There are some great YouTube videos that you can listen to. 

Exercise Links

NHS https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/

The Body Coach -Free PE for kids at 9am every morning Monday – Friday and fun for adults to take part too! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAxW1XT0iEJo0TYlRfn6rYQ

Yoga with Adriene – This session is particularly good for anxiety and is gentle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5CEOjPY_uw