It’s been an odd four months – we were all going about our business, then COVID-19 raised its head and suddenly our lives were transformed. Over a million were told to ‘shield’, what did that even mean? Many more were told to ‘self-isolate’ and work from home ‘if you can’. Life would never be the same again.
Schools, restaurants, pubs, gyms and other business were closed and none of us really knew what to do next. Then we settled into this new reality; we learned to ‘socially distance’ ourselves from friends and family, we clapped for key workers on a Thursday evening and there were special shopping slots allocated to the vulnerable and key workers. Parents became home schooling teachers, a whole team of volunteers became personal shoppers, and furlough became a new buzzword. And now, we are ‘opening up’ again, and this is bringing a whole new world of worry. When I was told I could stop shielding I asked, “What has changed to make me feel safe out there?” And I know I am not alone in this. We have become used to feeling safe at home, we have reorganised our homes to be offices or schools and they are our safe places. Now there is a whole new anxiety; it’s called going out and facing the world again. The good news? We are looking at our mental health, what it takes to make us feel well and there are all sorts of places we can go for help if we need it.
A few top tips when wearing a mask: 1. Breathe through your nose, it can thermoregulate and moistens the air to keep lungs working and nasal hairs and mucus are the first line of defence for your immune system. 2. breathe lightly in the mask (big breaths blows out too much CO2. 3. change it whenever it is wet.
Here are a couple of things that we can do to help ourselves to keep safe.
Be kind to yourself. It is perfectly normal to be anxious about going out and mixing with people; we do not know who may have the virus.
Make an effort to keep in touch with friends and family; make a list and phone or zoom with someone every day. They need it as much as you do and they’ll be pleased that you did.
Get some exercise: go out for a walk, find an exercise program on the TV (Joe Wicks has become a firm favourite).
Is there a new activity that you’ve discovered? Can you do more of it? Is there something else that you really would like to try? Go for it, what is stopping you? You can do it.
We all need a certain amount of information but don’t keep watching and listening to the news, it is exhausting to be constantly immersed in it all.
By Amanda Gunness