coping with covid19 – how to help look after yourself and others

Last week the World Health Organisation officially declared Coronavirus or Covid 19 as a pandemic.

All over the world countries have gone into complete lockdown. This week it was announced that Germany, Austria and Spain have joined Italy in closing their borders, restricted travel access and enforced closures of public spaces.

Whilst the rest of the world seems to be taking the precautionary measures to minimize the spread of Covid-19, the UK is not taking responsibility. Yesterday Boris Johnson finally addressed the issue but as expected he protected a small handful of wealthy insurers rather than the thousands of small business owners effected by the virus. Instead of imposing a ban on mass gatherings and enforcing the closure of bars, restaurants and cafe’s he instead asked the public to avoid them. Without an official closure many businesses won’t be able to claim on insurance for loss of earnings meaning people’s hours will be cut, jobs will be lost and many businesses will end up having to close for good. Many organizers, businesses and individuals are having to take it upon themselves to postpone or cancel events, reduce staff numbers and self isolate.

No one could ever have predicted the knock on effects Covid-19 would have on the world’s economy and people’s own mental health. Since the outbreak was first reported in January, the media have been quick to drive fear through inaccurate and purposefully panic inducing headlines. Some of the biggest events in sporting, tech and music have had to be cancelled or postponed including Coachella, SXSW and the NBA and many smaller gigs and artists are taking the same steps. 

However, amidst the panic buying, mass hysteria and stress of ever growing statistics, there are ways you can help those who are being affected by Covid-19. By supporting small businesses, looking locally for your needs and checking in on your loved one you can help take away some of the financial and mental struggles. If you’re one of the unlucky ones to be stuck in self – isolation (thank you for doing your bit!). We’ve compiled a list of things to do, watch and read whilst you have some free time. 
Things You Can Do To Help Others

1. Support Small Businesses

Small businesses are really struggling at the moment to keep up with outgoings so if there is any way you can help, do it! Whether you want to buy a new record, a new pair of pajamas or need to replace your moisturizer, see if there’s a lovely little brand you could support. In Bristol we are absolutely inundated with the most amazing independent shops. From Idle Hands for all your music needs to The Good Store studio for everything from ceramics to earrings and socks. Spend a little longer hunting down what you need and you can be sure what you’re buying is made with love and sold with love.

independent clothing store

2. Show Your Favourite Bands a Little Extra Love

Over the coming few months small bands are going to really feel the effects of having shows cancelled. We are just at the start of it and I have already had several gigs I was supposed to attend cancelled. Using the money you would’ve spent on tickets, drinks and transport why not buy some band merch or their latest single instead. Lots of bands these days sell everything from coasters to tote bags to sunglasses cases and hoodies. Support the bands you love now and this time next year they might still exist because of you. 

3. Don’t Cancel on Freelancers

Times like this are the stuff of nightmares for freelancers. Most freelancers aren’t covered for these circumstances and are unable to claim statutory sick pay. If you’ve booked a job with a freelancer, try not to cancel on them unless it is absolutely vital and if you do need to cancel reschedule for another date. If you know someone who relies on freelance work, check in on them and see how they’re coping and if there’s anything you can do to help. Sometimes the offer of a cup of tea and a bite to eat is all you need to take your mind off a stressful situation. 

4. Be Aware of Your Health

Have an awareness of your health and other peoples. Just because you’re young, fit and unhealthy doesn’t mean someone else is, even if they look it. Immunosuppressant diseases can come in all shapes and sizes so if you feel sick be extra vigilant. Wash your hands, sanitize regularly, sneeze into your elbow and try to not handle money/door knobs/hand rails etc. If you can avoid public spaces do, if you want to “eat out” order a take away to try and minimise the spread of virus. 

a doctors stethoscope

5. Don’t Panic Buy

If you’ve been to a supermarket in the last few weeks you would’ve noticed a lot of empty shelves. Since the pandemic set it, panic buying has taken the world by storm with the UK making a b line for toilet roll, pasta and ketchup. And whilst it may be doing wonders for the shareholders of Heinz and Andrex, panic buying is selfish and leaves the poor and vulnerable without everyday essentials. Anyone would’ve thought that diarrhoea is the number one symptom of corona – not a bloody cough. If you can help an elderly friend or neighbour with their shopping, offer your services. Some supermarkets including Iceland have announced they’ll be opening for a few hours in the morning just for people who are at a disadvantage but people in public spaces leave the elderly exposed to the virus. Shop sensibly, be kind and help those most in need. 

empty shelves in a supermarket due to coronavirus panic buying

 

Things To Do When You’re Self Isolating

1.Rediscover the wonder of the Web

For so many of us the internet is just a tool for scrolling. Whether you’re on social media, online shopping or browsing reddit, it’s easy to forget how exciting the web was when it first came out. However, there are so many amazing websites out there that will teach you things, train your brain, get your creative juices flowing and make the hours disappear. Some of my favourite websites for passing time include Pinterest, Sporcle, The Deep Sea and Silk.

coronavirus boredom website

2.Read Read Read

I speak to so many people who regularly tell me they don’t read enough. Well, this is your perfect opportunity. Reading is such an easy escape you might even forget for 20 minutes that the world is falling to pieces. If you’re unsure what to read, chat to friends and family, Goodreads is an excellent website for reviews or have a look what free downloads are available. Catch up on your favourite magazine, discover a new magazine or delve into the world of poetry. My three top book recommendations would be:

  1. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (long read)
  2. Everything I Know about Love by Dolly Alderton (romantic/funny)
  3. Hard Boiled Wonderland and the end of the world by Haruki Marukami (sci-fi)

3. Organise your shit

Whether it’s your room, paper work, the desktop on your computer or a draw with 10 years worth of junk in it.  This is prime organising time. Nothing makes the mind feel fresher than a good cleanse so be ruthless, grab a bin bag and get sorting. If you’ve got lots of old clothes you may as well spend time taking photos of them and putting them on Depop to make some money. If you need to take stuff to the charity shop, either get someone to take it for you or wait until you’re out of quarantine.

4. Practice self love

There are so many ways to make time for yourself and when everything feels a little overwhelming it’s even more important. Whether you have a bath, put on a face mask, masturbate, cook yourself a nice meal or listen to your favorite album spend time doing the things you love. Indulge in your pleasures, don’t feel guilty and make the most of a shitty situation. Check out our article on the Scandinavian practice of Hygge for inspiration.

taking time out of coronavirus to have a bath

Things You Can Do For Your Mental Health
1. Limit your time spent on social media

It’s impossible to be on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter without seeing Coronavirus related news. Everyone has something to say on the matter, especially following yesterday’s announcements but it does no one any good to spend hours absorbing scary statistics and negative thoughts. Sure be clued up, understand what’s going on and how it will affect you but don’t let it ruin your day. Make sure the articles you do read are well informed and if you’re going to spread information make sure it’s accurate. You don’t want to be part of the problem. 

coronavirus on social media

2.Seek out positive news

In the past few days I’ve been craving any news that isn’t doom and gloom. There are lots of magazines, online publications and Instagram feeds that are just dying to chuck some positivity your way. One of my favourites is Emily Coxhead’s The Happy Newspaper –  everything on the page is beautifully written, drawn and selected for the sole purpose of bringing a smile to your face. Whether you’re looking for some reassurance, ways to cope with anxiety or just need a feel quote to share, look no further. If you really love it you can also sign up to their quarterly newspaper from just £3.99 a month.

the happy newspaper by emily coxhead

3. Practice yoga or meditation

Great for the mind, body and soul yoga and meditation go hand in hand. I find meditation more demanding than yoga because I love to fidget but it’s good training. Use this free time to focus (and I mean really focus). Practice being still, listen to a guided meditation and love yourself enough to do absolutely nothing. 

If you’re well enough to add movement into your practice, research what type of yoga you want to do. Maybe you want to work up a bit more of a sweat so look into a Vinyasa class. If you’re new to the practice Hatha Yoga or Iyengar Yoga will give you lots of deep stretches and slow movement. Yoga with Adrienne is my go to teacher on Youtube as she has lots of videos with varying difficulties so even if you’re a yogi pro you’ll have a challenge.

coronavirus ways to cope

4. Catch up with Friends

This is going to be a lonely time for a lot of people – especially those in isolation. Human contact is vital for our happiness so even if you can’t physically be together, arrange a group call over Skype, share a laugh together and vent your frustrations. If you know someone in isolation, check in on them and see if there’s anything they need. Sometimes it’s just nice knowing someone is there to help you when you need it.

Of course there are a million one other things you can do which I haven’t included on here so if none of these appeal to you, here are some other ideas. Play guitar, write a song, bake a cake, paint your nails, try a new craft (macrame is a good one), , watch a series, watch a film, write a letter to someone, dance in your room, walk your dog, start learning a language, set some intentions, reflect on your achievements, make a website, rearrange your space, make a bucket list, do a bit of D.I.Y. and most importantly, stay positive!

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