Top Tips For Surviving The Pandemic And Holding Onto Hope

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

Desmond Tutu

As we all find ourselves in an unprecedented period of coronavirus, isolation, social distancing and change, it’s incredibly hard for many of us to adapt to this ‘new normal’ and ultimately manage our wellbeing as well as we’d want to. With the help of some great people answering a series of questions, today’s post is a collection of their thoughts for getting through the lockdown and making the best of a bad situation. Whether you’re completely stuck in a rut or perhaps need a little bit of inspiration, you’ve come to the right place!

  1. What have been your favourite activities to do during the lockdown?

Andrea: Part time I’ve been working in a nursing home, however aside from that I’ve enjoyed walking, spending time with my Dog, doing Yoga and taking time to process life with periods of contemplation/reflection.

Mhari: My biggest hobbies during lockdown have been cooking, baking and trying new forms of exercise.

Steve: I have been getting really active with my fitness and competing with work colleagues on step counts.

Olivia: I’ve been cooking and baking lots more, as well as drawing and watching new series on Netflix.

Rebecca: I’ve enjoyed getting outside, whether it’s in the garden with the family or going out on walks. Being outside helps my mental wellbeing hugely and I like a lot of competitive sports, so being able to adjust and create games to play as a family in the garden has been nice.

2. What is your support system like?

Andrea: I have a husband and I’m able to video call my children and other family members. With all that and a Dog, I would say I have a good support system.

Mhari: I live with my husband and son, meanwhile my friends are only a message away most of the time.

Steve: My support network is good- I run a talk group for others to join in, and if I need somebody to chat to about certain things, I confide in friends and people I have met through my mental health work.

Olivia: I’m lucky enough to have friends and a boyfriend who regularly check up on me, make sure I’m okay and are so supportive.

Rebecca: It varies – a lot of my support systems depended on me going out and meeting up with friends, therefore I now have to rely on FaceTime and Skype calls to keep me connected. I’ve struggled reaching out for help from my support system as I find it quite easy to isolate, especially when there’s no expectation to go out. I have a handful of really good friends that message me throughout the day to check in and send me messages of hope- which is very kind. You can’t beat human interaction though so it’s been challenging to lose my support physically and it now be solely reliant on me picking up my phone. 

3. Is there anything you’ve learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic?

Andrea: I’ve learnt that social interaction of any kind is good for your mental health, however more so if it’s face-to-face. Friends and family are very important and it’s vital to contact people daily if they are alone or more vulnerable to isolation.

Mhari: That my family and friends are so important in keeping me mentally well.

Steve: To not take anything for granted and to appreciate the small things.

Olivia: I’ve learnt how to organise my time and put myself into a routine which doesn’t make me feel trapped. I’m also working on a healthy relationship with food and my body.

Rebecca: I’ve learnt the importance of connections. As someone suffering with depression I’ve spent a long period of time isolating myself anyway, and i knew communication was the key to managing my illness. However, even just smiles from neighbours and texts from friends have more meaning now.

4. Tell me one positive news story, headline or moment you’ve seen that’s given you hope!

Andrea: I’ve loved that the world is able to be together, be creative, adapt, communicate better, realise how we are not promised tomorrow and that people are caring for each other better. It’s taken a crisis like this for people to have a change of perspective.

Mhari: Volunteers around Stirling, Scotland (my local area) have been helping out vulnerable people with food shopping supplies and cutting their grass, among other things. They’ve done an amazing job!

Steve: That even when people have been in a crisis, people have come together and supported one another when required.

Olivia: Something positive is that air pollution around the world has been reduced. In the UK it’s halved since lockdown began. Delhi, the most polluted city in the world, has had its healthiest and freshest air in a decade.

Rebecca: I took my dog for a walk during the VE Day celebrations and was pleasantly surprised to see the amount of people out in the streets, with tables and chairs, playing bingo, waving flags and listening to music- all from a social distance of course. It brought me some joy and hope for the future and hopefully it will bring a greater sense of community.

5. Should somebody be experiencing a tough time, what would your advice be?

Andrea: Talk to somebody, make a phone call, reach out. You are never silly or a nuisance for doing so, despite what you may think. Mindfulness can also be very helpful as it teaches us how to think more in the present moment.

Mhari: Please speak to somebody online or over the phone. Use meditation apps and get out for a walk everyday to soak up the sunshine. Sometimes you may have no motivation or energy to go outside, but it definitely helps you feel better when you do.

Steve: Hold onto that bit of hope you have as the storm will pass. There is always someone there to help, even if it feels like you’re alone.

Olivia: Get in touch with somebody. We’re all in the same position in terms of being on lockdown, therefore it’s good to reach out to other people and recognise you’re not alone.

Rebecca: As much as you want to hide away, don’t. Experience your feelings, cry if you must, let the anxieties or worries come, reach out to someone to talk or write your thoughts down, but remember that they will pass. The happy, fun moments are never too far away!

I really hope the responses and advice given will be of some benefit- stay tuned for Pt.2 coming very soon!

Steve’s website: https://www.stevekillick90.com/

Becca’s website: https://www.teamreb.com/

Thanks for reading,

Adam

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