There’s definitely a lot of information and advice being fired out from all places right now to help people during this tricky time with COVID.
But the best advice I’ve read so far comes from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is not coincidentally, the best place we should be turning to for scientifically-backed, expert advice for how to manage and deal with the situation anyway.
I thought I’d summarise and share their latest notes in case anyone had missed them in the media as they are genuinely useful.
The tips cover basic nutrition (eat a health and nutritious diet, don’t smoke and limit your consumption of alcohol) as well as a few more interesting ones on exercise, working environment, mental health and relationships, which I’ve shared here.
- During this difficult time it’s important to continue looking after your physical and mental health. This will not only help you in the long term; it will also help you fight COVID if you get it.
- Exercise. If your local or national guidelines allow it go outside for a walk, a run or a ride and keep a safe distance from others. If you can’t leave the house find an exercise video online, dance to music, do some yoga or walk up and down the stairs.
- If you’re working at home make sure you don’t sit in the same position for long periods; get up and take a three-minute break every 30 minutes. We will be providing more advice on how to stay healthy at home in the coming days and weeks.
- Look after your mental health. It’s normal to feel stressed, confused and scared during a crisis. Talking to people you know and trust can help. Supporting other people in your community can help you as much as it does them.
- Check on neighbours, family and friends. Compassion is a medicine.
- Listen to music, read a book or play a game and try not to read or watch too much news if it makes you anxious.
- Get your information from reliable sources once or twice a day.
- Keep in touch with health alerts via the WHO
4 more tips to help you deal with the cocktail of intensity
A somatic therapist friend of mine, who specialises in treating trauma, has also just shared a few of her own tips, based on Trauma First Aid and the yogic practice of restraint.
Yoga Tara is founder of Isha Institute in Nepal, a centre that promotes personal growth and transformation through holistic counselling (follow on @isha_inspired). I hope you find them as valuable as I did. Please feel free to share with others.
Limit your exposure to information
- Look at the news or collect information one or two times a day, eg, morning and late afternoon.
- Avoid looking up information before you go to sleep. This is stimulating and triggering. Give yourself one or two hours quiet time before you go to bed.
- Limit the amount of time you’re getting your info: 15-30min. Not two hours!
Select your sources of information carefully
- Avoid spending time on social media. It’s a fascinating study on mass panic/fear response, but not the healthiest place to spend time if you want to stay sane!
Choose with whom you are going to talk to about the situation
- When it comes to discussing your real concerns, beliefs and decisions in relation to the situation, choose one, two or three people with whom you can share and to whom you can listen.
- Not everyone is a steady resource at this time. People you may have thought as calm or even keel, might not be. And vice versa.
- How do you know who is right for you? You would feel relatively calm and stable (operative word: relatively) with them.
Simplify your to-do list
- When we feel under threat or under sustained stress, our brain and body go into life-preserving mode and work in different ways than normal.
- Functions that tend to get compromised are our ability to think clearly, make decisions, analyse and execute (ie get things done). Our ability to manage emotions can also be compromised. We are not under normal conditions, so we cannot expect ourselves to act perfectly ‘normal’.
- If you’re working from home, if you have children for home / online schooling, let yourself off the hook and reduce your output or to-do list by 25-30% (at least!).
- Give yourself and others some extra space and time to get things done. Our brains and bodies are working harder than usual so take the expectation off from ‘normal productivity’.
- If you or others around you feel fuzzy headed, irritable, tired, please know this is normal.
- Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with others.