Surviving the new normal: self-isolation and social distancing during a global pandemic.
We are currently experiencing very interesting times. We aren’t able to go out for dinner, to the movies or the gym. We’re petrified of getting sick. We can’t visit our grandparents or our grandchildren. And how long is all this going to last? At this stage it looks like it could be three months; but it could be up to six months! Either way we need to ensure that our ‘new normal’ has a routine that is sustainable and healthy.
The first thing we need to do, is stop panicking! We don’t know what the next few months will bring so it’s best not to speculate and dwell on the worst-case scenario. Instead put a contingency plan in place and create a routine to get you and your family through your days, one at a time.
Start by sticking to the same time for going to bed and waking up each day; and have your meals scheduled for the same time every day too. Resilience thrives with proper nutrition and sleep. Resilience you ask? What has resilience got to do with anything? The Oxford dictionary states resilience as ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness’. During these difficult times we need to ensure that we have the resilience we need to to bounce back and carry on with life as best as we can given the extraordinary circumstances.
Sticking to a routine allows us to have control in a time when life may feel like it is out of control. If we have a schedule to stick to and targets to meet; whether we are working from home, working in society as an essential worker or home schooling our children. We will feel focused and encouraged to hit our targets if we have an organised schedule within our daily routines. A lack of structure can be confusing and can cause procrastination, and this in time can lead to a state of poor mental health.
Often in times of stress we turn to unhealthy ways to try to cope, we might self-medicate with high sugar and high fat foods, alcohol or drugs. These might help in the short term, but can have detrimental effects on our health and wellbeing in the long term both physically and mentally.
So, what are some healthy ways for us to cope in the unusual circumstances that we find ourselves in?
Whether you are doing virtual online classes with me at Fit Shape Health and Wellness, or walking or running outdoors. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, it just matters that you are doing something! Exercise is crucial in combatting stress and allowing your body the movement that it craves.
Stop watching the news!
If you have your TV on the news channel 24/7 and follow all the news pages of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, guess what? You will never see any good news, it will all be negative, depressing, fear inducing and in the long-term traumatising news! So, turn it off, or change the channel! Also be sure to restrict your news consumption for at least one hour before going to sleep. I suggest checking the ABC Australia News website once or twice a day, just to check for any changes to the current rules and regulations around the Covid 19 outbreak.
The ABC tend to only share the facts and don’t sensationalise their stories in order to get more views like a lot of other commercial news channels and websites do.
Finding time to chill out is imperative when we are constantly being bombarded with negativity. If you can find time each day to do some meditation, yoga, reading, gardening, crafting, watching comedy movies or journaling; you will notice that you will be calmer and better equipped to deal with stressful situations if and when they arise.
Schedule family time into your routine
Whether it’s a family walk after dinner, a boardgame, or a movie; be sure to schedule time everyday where you are engaged with your family. Leave your phone alone and turn off that dastardly news. If you have teenage children set your schedule so that you all eat dinner together at the table each night. If you live alone or have adult children organise regular Facetime, Zoom or Skype calls. Or organise a ‘buddy system’ with a friend or family member that you can go for a daily walk and talk with; remembering to stay 1.5m apart if you are not from the same household.
Ensure that you schedule all of these activities into your daily routine so that you have a plan of attack for each day. And try to adhere to any of your routines that you had in place before Covid 19 hit. For example, if you used to do 6am classes at Fit Shape, continue to do 6am classes virtually from home, if you went for a run every afternoon at 430pm, continue to do so.
Lastly, think outside the box. This extra time at home may just teach you to be more adaptive and creative, and you might even discover new interests as you try to fight the boredom.
And remember to think about what really matters; reconnecting and supporting family, friends and neighbours. Positive relationships both in person and online will be our saving grace during these unprecedented times.