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I can’t deal with another state of emergency! Mental health response to COVID19

There’s so much information everywhere about COVID19 cultivating fear, worry and uncertainty. Although it is a time of uncertainty, I wanted to share two major impacts to our mental health to help us have some healthier thinking at this turbulent time. The two themes I am going to explore in this blog are human’s unrealistic response to fear and not letting the lack of pleasurable things impact your happiness.

I also have created two simple poster resources, free to download. Please share.

A human response to fear

As humans we worry and fear as a survival response; when something is uncertain, we have a similar response. Let’s put this into an example:

You are walking and you see a dog, it is growling and barking at you. You react, your heart starts racing, you make your escape plan, you start to freak out that you won’t be able to get away.

You then stop and look up and realise the dog is on the other side of the road and that their owner is next to them.

Right now, COVID19 is like the dog bark, we are fearing what could happen without stopping and taking in the circumstances and knowing that we have measures to keep ourselves safe.

To counter this, we need to take time everyday to recognise the fear and acknowledge this is the right feeling to be having. The dog is real.

We need to stop and put it into the perspective that we have safety around us, we can control elements of our immediate situation. The bark is scary, but the dog is across the road.

Letting fear and worry impact your day to day perspectives will snowball into our other thoughts, our ability to see the whole picture and ability to cope with change and stress.

STOP. BREATHE. LOOK AROUND. Ask yourself, what is my correct response to this moment?

Take it day by day and limit the amount of negative news you are hearing.

Pleasure vs happiness

Right now, our lives may look very different to one or two weeks ago; we may be working from home, we may have lost our jobs, we may have three kids we now need to home-school and so on.

It already feels overwhelming to process the current change and manage the uncertainty. On top of this we may also feel a sense of loss due to lost income, lost rights and lost activities that normally bring us joy. The joy that these activities and possessions bring us does not equal happiness. They bring moments of pleasure that are wavering and dependant on external influences, while happiness is a stable.

Happiness is your internal sense of self and purpose and this can be just as high without inconsistent pleasures, we just enjoy pleasures (I sure do!).

During this time, we are going to have a lot of extra stressors so let’s think of ways we can build our sense of self, strengthen our relationships and feel connected to our purpose.

Here are four (point five) simple ways you can maintain or increase your happiness from home:

1. Set simple goals each day and reward yourself when you have completed them.

2. Find something new to learn that interests you – creative projects are great.

3. Connect with your loved ones (the positive ones) and do something fun together 3a. On that note, just do fun things by yourself too!

4. Volunteer and give back to your community – you will get back as much as you give.

I hope this gives you a new understanding or perspective to keeping your mental health and thoughts healthy during this uncertain time. Stay safe and look after each other.

Thanks for improving wellness <3

See resources below, the first is for young people and second for adults.

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