The Covid-19 pandemic, which started in China in December 2019, has had an enormous impact on our lives. It has had significant psychological and social effects on the worlds population. The well-being of children, students, older people, health workers and pretty much everyone in between has been affected.
Many of us have developed post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or depression. The fear of contracting the virus has affected how we live our life and in many cases has lead to social isolation. The loss of our freedom, being separated from our loved ones and the uncertainty of the future have all contributed to a feeling of helplessness.
20 months on from the start of the Coronavirus, life has undoubtedly changed for all of us. We don't know how much longer it will affect our lives, but I am hopeful that we will get a handle on it in the foreseeable future.
In the meantime, there are things we can all do to look after our mental health:
1. Stick to a regular routine, like
Cook healthy meals
Stick to a work schedule
Do something you enjoy, like reading, music, hobbies...
2. Keep in contact with your family and friends. If you can't see them in person, give them a call and have a chat and lough.
3. Talk to your children about the pandemic in an age appropriate way. You can help them express their feelings by listening to what they are experiencing or through play or drawings.
4. Help others. You will feel much better about yourself if you help someone else, who might need help with food shopping, cooking or just spending time with them.
5. Avoid alcohol and drugs.
6. Think positive. We cannot change the reality, but we can choose how we look at it and how we think.
7. Don't judge. Many people struggle with the lockdowns, the restrictions and the pressure of getting vaccinated. Do not let our different perspectives divide us. I have seen friendships go bad and people dob others in. Everyone should be allowed to have their own opinion - we don't need to pressure others into doing what we think they should.
8. Be kind - as our NZ Prime Minister keeps telling us.
If you are struggling to cope, reach out for help. There are numerous places offering help - like counsellors, lifeline, suicide prevention, healthline etc. Don't suffer in silence! Help is only a phone call away.
Maybe now is the perfect time to plan ahead for the future. What do you want to do with your life once all the countries are open again and only the horizon is the limit? What gets you excited? Right now we have the time to set ourselves up - maybe get the training we need or learn a new skill or language? Rather than dwelling on the negatives, lets concentrate on a better future.
I choose to be optimistic and have exciting plans to look forward to. What about you?