Living through this pandemic, coping with isolation whilst managing our mental health is undoubtedly a challenge. It is completely normal to be feeling overwhelmed and worried during this time. We may also experience feelings of anxiety, powerlessness, fear, irritability and depression. However there are steps you can take to care for and manage your well-being.
1. Take a break from news and social media. If the media coverage is overwhelming and heightening your anxiety, it may be useful to allocate set times throughout the day to catch up on news and updates. Too much time on social media, googling things and excessive exposure to media coverage may increase your anxiety.
This is an unsettling time for us, therefore it’s important to remember the facts and only listen to or follow reliable news sources.
2. Pray ….. look after yourself Our basic self-care needs include, taking deep breaths, exercising, eating healthily, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep. However we can further care for our well-being by creating an evening unwind session. Take 20-40 minutes in the evening to reflect and relax.
This can include reading, taking a bath, listening to music or practicing a guided breathing exercise on YouTube. Praying at this time is food for the soul, know that there is no social distancing when it comes to the healing presence of God in our lives. Gods healing presence is available for us all.
3. Maintain connections. Even though we are further apart physically through social-distancing, this does not mean we need to lose our connections with family and friends. It is so important to keep in touch. Call, Skype, video call, message, text or email. It will help you and help them. We all need to check-in with each other, to talk about our fears and worries, to reassure and offer each other support.
4. Routine. Routine is key in helping us to care for our mental health and well-being. The lack of it can have a huge impact on thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Create a new routine, get up every morning at the same time, get washed and dressed. Even though you are at home and staying in a lot, it us important for your wellness. Sleep and diet are both also so important for your immune system, so stick to a good routine and make sure that you are getting enough sleep and eating well.
5. Lower your expectations. It is okay if you’re not on top of home schooling, or if you haven’t learned a new skill or spring cleaned your home.
Experiencing difficulty in concentrating and low motivation are to be expected. Adaptation will take time. So please go easy on yourself. Try not to compare to others on social media or in WhatsApp groups. What is important right now, is to go easy on yourself and to lower your expectations.
6. Stay in the present. Take each day as it comes and focus on the things you can control. Mindfulness and meditation are great tools to help you do this.
Remind yourself this is temporary and focus on what you can control.
7. Reach out. If you have a pre-existing mental health condition and you have an appointment with your therapist or doctor, please keep them.
If you need help or support right now, it is available.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis has been offering encouragement to the world.
From praying the Our Father with Christians of every denomination, to imparting an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing, he has accompanied each action with powerful words about keeping hope and courage alive.
Pope Francis reminds Christians of their identity and that God is never-changing, even during this time.
Palm Sunday Mass – April 5, 2020
So that when we have our back to the wall, when we find ourselves at a dead end, with no light and no way of escape, when it seems that God Himself is not responding, we should remember that we are not alone. Jesus experienced total abandonment in a situation he had never before experienced in order to be one with us in everything. He did it for me, for you, to say to us: “Do not be afraid, you are not alone.”
Santa Marta – April 2, 2020
We are Christians because we were chosen. In this election, there is a promise. There is a promise of hope. The sign is fruitfulness.
He recalls that going from the season of Lent to Easter, and Jesus’ death to resurrection, Christ remains the hope for Christians.
Urbi et Orbi Blessing – March 27, 2020
The Lord asks us from His cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look toward those who look to us, to strengthen, recognize and foster the grace that lives within us. Let us not quench the wavering flame that never falters, and let us allow hope to be rekindled.
Urbi et Orbi – April 12, 2020
This is a different type of “contagion.” It’s a message transmitted from heart to heart – for every human heart awaits this Good News. It is the contagion of hope, “Christ, my hope, is risen!” This is no magic formula that makes problems vanish. No, the resurrection of Christ is not that. Instead, it is the victory of love over the root of evil, a victory that does not “by-pass” suffering and death, but passes through them.
He doesn’t play down the difficulties and suffering, but says in order to face them, courage is also needed.
Pope Francis asks people not to give up in this time. He says to remember that God is bigger than any problem that could arise.