You need to remind yourself, that this pause, this sudden shift in gears, with a lot of brakes is good, writes Dr. Noor Gill. It is the universe presenting you the opportunity to do all the things you’ve been meaning to get to but never got the time to
These are tiring and testing times. Your family members and news journalists throw big heavy words like “quarantine” “social distancing” and “isolation” your way without giving a head or face to the whole situation, only makes it seem more scary.
So, let’s start by understanding the difference between the three. No, they are not the same.
Social Distancing: This is a non-pharmaceutical way of dealing with a highly contagious, transmitted via droplets pathogen. It intends to stop or slow down the spread of a highly transmissible disease. It’s objective is to reduce the probability of contact between a person carrying an infection and those who are healthy, to minimise the transmission.
Quarantine: This is a state, period or place of isolation in which the people that have arrived from elsewhere or have been exposed to an infectious agent are placed. This is also why everyone with a travel history is requested to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days, since the incubation period for Covid-19 is approximately the same. This way you lower the risk of running into and communicating the disease to an otherwise non infected being.
Isolation: Isolation simply means keeping far away from everyone and everything.
All of these practices can increase the risk of mental health issues. They may also trigger your anxiety or feed off of your paranoia.
Admittedly, these past few week shave been scary for many of us. And we do not have a road map for what we are currently experiencing. We do not know where we are headed and when the road will end… all of that in itself can bring up feelings of anxiety, depression, loneliness and fear. Not to mention the worry we feel for our spouses, children, grandchildren and loved ones; their health and safety and financial security in the current times of lock down, curfew sand limited rationing of food and other necessary resources.
Whatever you’re going through right now, you need to know you are not alone. Even as we practice social distancing and self-quarantine, this new normal is something we are all figuring out together.
Here are a few tips to help you stay well and healthy, both physically and mentally:
You need to remind yourself, that this pause, this sudden shift in gears, with a lot of brakes is good. It is the universe presenting you the opportunity to do all the things you’ve been meaning to get to but never got the time to.
- Set a routine : Don’t change your routine. Wake up early in the morning, or maybe an hour late, but get out of bed. Shower. Eat a wholesome breakfast while you get through your newspaper. Slip out of your pyjamas. Put on something nice, maybe even you shoes. This prepares you for the day that is ahead of you, even if it involves sitting in your rocking chair, you still feel ready, fresh and crisp.
- Sit in the sun for a while : The sunny weather will brighten your mood much like the day. Sit in the porch while you’re reading the paper. Or have your evening tea in the veranda; but get out of the locked doors, there’s a whole world outside. Get some air. Look at the sky change colours and tones. Look at the sky, let the enormity and the constant presence of the sky calmly lull your fears and insecurities.
- Exercise: Taking care of your mental health is important. But it is also very important to stay in shape and keep your physical health at its prime. All of this becomes easier when the two are inter-wreathed. Exercise for at least 15 minutes, if not more. Nothing too strenuous. Just a little stretching and breathing exercises. Something to keep your moving, breathing. You could also give yoga a try. And maybe meditation too. That should help your calm your self and find your center.
- Eat healthy: What you eat, is what shows- on your skin, face, body and mind. Eat better. Have at least a glass of orange juice a day, get that Vitamin C, you need it now more than ever to boost up your immunity. Eat your greens and a handful of nuts. Do not skip meals. Eat small but appetizing meals at frequent intervals.
- Call a friend: Take this time to catch up with your friends. Face-time, Skype, Zoom… call. Check up on them. Make sure they are taking care of themselves. Talk about the good old times when going out to the park was not a potential risk to your health and life.
- Pick up a hobby: It does not have to be something extravagant. You do not have to come out of this lock-down with a novel to your name or learn how to talk fluently in French. You could just water the plants or learn a new recipe. Anything to keep you occupied and satisfied.
Don’t forget that it is okay to breathe too. Don’t let the capitalist world that thrives on our insecurities get the better of your productivity. Be gentle with yourself. Log off when you need to. Take a break when you can and let others know when you’d like a little help. There is no shame in asking, you wouldn’t know what they would say, unless you ask.
We cannot hold hands physically but we can and we will always be there to hold each other up.