COVID-19 AND MENTAL HEALTH
An unprecedented time shrouded in anxiety and fear.
How do we cope?
My advice – focus on today. TODAY, as in RIGHT NOW, is the only certainty that we have. Yesterday is a memory and tomorrow is not given – so, for your mental health and sanity – focus only on today.
‘Today I can get some groceries’. ‘Today I can call my bank’. ‘Today I can finish that last invoice’. ‘Today I have some form of control and TODAY I will focus on right now and get through the day’.
And THAT is plenty.
Don’t invest precious emotional energy on what things might look like next week or next month. The reality is – we don’t know what the future will look like. Right now, it makes little to no difference anyway. Today is the day to focus your mental energy on. Tomorrow can wait.
I’m not trying to be facetious. I’m not trying to make light of an incredibly stressful and terrifying time. I believe it is important for people to prioritise their mental energy and preserve their mental health. Today is the only day that you have any real control over, because you know that RIGHT NOW this is exactly where you are at, and given that you are exactly where you are – RIGHT NOW, you can judge what you are capable of doing.
WHAT TO DO
Focussing on your ‘old’ five year plan now, will hurt your head. Things have changed. Looking at future plans during COVID-19 will decimate your mental strength. Now is the time to proactively survive each day, one day at a time. Slow down, take a breath, and focus on RIGHT NOW.
We are conditioned to be future focussed and changing that is not easy. It takes time and practise. But it is worth it. When you find your mind wandering into the future and stressing – gently remind yourself to come back to the present, back to RIGHT NOW, and assess from there.
The world as we know it will have changed. Precious people will have been lost and the sadness in people’s hearts will remain. The loss of a loved one is never easy and emotional pain can survive generations. We must be prepared to support this space.
How we live and work will have been affected. In many ways, this will be negative. In others, I believe we can find positives. After weeks or months of being isolated – people will flock to cafe’s and restaurants, people will host BBQ’s and social events, clubs will be inundated with people busting to reconnect. Business will have reinvented their work spaces and the dreaded ‘business meetings with seemingly no purpose other than to tick a box’ will be a thing of the past. Our kids will be more grateful and aware of limitations. As a community we will come together in a happier, more grateful space. We will appreciate our friends, families and neighbours more. People will have more time for one another, and for themselves. This is what I believe anyway.
COVID-19 offers opportunities for people to revisit their priorities and slow their lives to a more manageable speed. I believe we should capitalise on this. And whilst the losses we experience due to COVID-19 will stay with many forever; when COVID-19 is managed, I believe we will be okay. For now, just focus on today.