By Josie Gudgeon
Usually, my articles are focused on and around the fashion industry. However, in many of my pieces, I have spoken about empowerment and mental health. Right now I feel this is a really pressing subject. I feel that it is important to discuss our mental health during this pandemic; encouraging a positive mindset and empowering ourselves during this difficult time.
This is unlikely to be a retreat or the time off work you were hoping for. Do not underestimate the mental and emotional load that this pandemic can bring, or the impact it will have on your productivity, at least in the short term. Go easy on yourself. Difficulty concentrating, low motivation and a state of distraction are to be expected. Adaptation will take time. As we settle into this new pace of remote work and isolation, we need to be realistic in the goals we set for ourselves.
It will help to try and see it as a different period in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even though you didn’t choose it. It will mean a different pace of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than normal. Although it’s understandably difficult being unable to visit family and friends, we can still be in touch regularly on social media, facetime or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.
Stick to it
During this time try to create a new daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. Make an effort to focus on your favourite hobby if it is something you can still do at home. You could enjoy reading, watching movies, working out, trying new relaxation techniques, or picking something new to learn at home. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, and people are coming up with inventive ways to do things, like hosting online pub quizzes and music concerts. Try to view this as a new experience. Okay, so it may be a little unusual, but it can have its benefits.
Another key thing that impacts how you are feeling is good-quality sleep which makes a big difference, so it’s important to get enough. Try to maintain your regular sleeping pattern.
Concern about the Coronavirus outbreak is perfectly normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their day-to-day life. We need remember that it’s impossible to always control your surroundings; so, you must focus on the things you can control, such as how you act, who you speak to and where you get information from. It’s fine to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, but if constant thoughts about the situation are making you feel anxious or overwhelmed minimize watching, reading or listening to news about COVID-19 that causes you to feel anxious or distressed; seek information only from trusted sources.
There is a lot that we cannot control right now, but how we talk to ourselves during these challenging times can either provide a powerful barrier to these difficult circumstances or amplify our distress. Moments of feeling overwhelmed often come with big thoughts, such as “I cannot do this,” or “This is too hard.” This pandemic will cause a lot of stress for many of us, and we cannot be our best selves all the time. But we can ask for help or reach out when help is asked of us.
We all need to remember that although this is not going to feel like normal, as this is different and it’s okay that it’s different. It’s impossible to always control your surroundings. Everything has changed, we can’t do things we did before which we may have enjoyed, that brought us happiness, maybe you can’t see friends or family. The whole thing is hard. Go forward saying “this is not normal, but this is my new normal for now” be positive with the new way you are feeling.