Before I start, I just wanted to say a huge thank you to my amazing best friend Jess for curing my writer’s block and coming up with this idea. This one’s for you!
I’m aware I’m late to the party when I say that the coronavirus pandemic has basically cancelled 2020, and as much as I would love to skip forward to 2021, I can’t. Experiencing a pandemic as severe as this one is bound to cause some anxieties. So, I’ve come up with five ideas to help you remain calm when the world is descending into what can only be described as utter chaos.
Number 1: Take time to think
Although this probably seems like a minimalistic step, it’s one of the most helpful things that we can do. Often, when there’s a billion things going on around us, it’s difficult to focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting us personally. If you’re anything like me, these thoughts will usually catch up with you just as you’re nodding off to sleep…
Taking the time to think about it is really impactful. All too often we find it easy to push these things to the backs of our minds and swipe them away as quickly as the notifications we receive on our phones about the virus. As appealing as this is, it won’t help anyone. Whether you draw a mind map about it or spend an extra 5 minutes thinking about it whilst ensuring you’ve consumed every last drop of the now semi-cold cup of tea next to you, it’s important to fully process what’s happening around you. It’s ok to feel as though you’ve been chucked in the deep end of all of this because it’s such a huge lifestyle change.
Afterall, how many of us have experienced a pandemic as widespread as this one?
I suppose what I’m trying to say is by simply taking the time to think about it, process and understand it in your mind will help to ease any anxieties you may have. And yes, if writing it all down in multi-coloured pens will help (totally not speaking from personal experience…) then you do you!
Ultimately, be selfish about it. There is nothing wrong with taking the time for yourself and putting your mental health first.
Number 2: Talk
Similarly, talking about it is another way to keep on top of the situation. I suppose you’ve just got to look at the whole situation like making a cake (bear with me on this one!). I don’t know about you, but the ‘shove it all in one bowl and hope for the best’ mantra sort of applies here, because no matter how messy things are and how crap it might look to begin with, it always turns out alright in the end.
Now I know referring to a nationwide pandemic as a sponge cake perhaps isn’t very relevant, but it’s the ideology that counts!
Although news of the coronavirus has spread like a wildfire and dominated pretty much every media outlet’s top headline, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only talking point. Simply calling your friends to discuss the latest drama or TikTok videos (shoutout to my uni girls – I miss you guys!) or having general conversations theorising whether what hand you write with determines if you prefer blue or black pens (seriously though, can we put this to the test?) can help to take your mind off the situation.
I’m not saying completely ignore it but don’t let it dominate your conversations. COVID-19 has pressed the ‘stop’ button on a lot of things, but not having a laugh.
Number 3: Focus on your hobbies
It’s at this point that I am very thankful to have a hobby that I have access to on the daily, because I think isolating without it would drive me to the point of insanity which would make Pennywise look tame…
Obviously, it goes without saying that this should be done in accordance with the one exercise a day policy that the Government has put in place. Whether your hobbies include running, cycling, horse-riding or even yoga, use the extra time you now have to really focus on it.
There is no better cure to the inevitable boredom of quarantine than working out where you want to be and what you want to achieve in whatever hobby you might have, as well as taking the good with the bad.
Speaking of which, here’s a fun little story to make you laugh on this fine day of quarantine.
Picture this, it’s probably about 9am and I’m casually grooming Annabelle outside of her stable. It’s a fairly pleasant day, and by that, I mean it’s not raining. Then suddenly, WHACK! Annabelle decides she wants to debut the clump of mud on her face and rams my back into the stable door.
After I’ve blurted out a fair bit of colourful language in response to the pain my back was (and still is) in and how rude my horse is, life carried on as usual and I thought “ah that’ll be fine, it won’t bruise”…
Little did I know!
As I’m getting changed out of my yard clothes later on, I notice a rather large bolt imprint on my back.
It’s safe to say that that area of my back is now trying out a shade of colour very similar to when you first experimented with black and purple eyeshadow…
I suppose if anybody would like a semi-permanent, unique tattoo then just buy yourself a snack-obsessed cob!
Number 4: Try something new
Ahh the classic try something new step. Whether it’s baking, learning a new language, reading a book series or watching a new genre of film, trying new stuff comes in all shapes and sizes.
Now is a better time than ever to expand on your skill set and to work out if you’re actually the next Mary Berry…
I suppose I’m inclined to say that there is more to cooking than pasta, but then again I am your stereotypical university student who hasn’t really got the time to be cooking up a roast dinner with a homemade lemon tart for dessert thanks to deadlines.. BUT it’s true.
Cooking up new things and experimenting with flavours in the kitchen could be a great way to fill up your spare time.
Additionally, learning a new language is a great time filler and a fab opportunity to confuse your household by only speaking that language for the foreseeable future!
Number 5: Family time
Lastly, spending quality time with your family (not that we have much choice!) is a good way to pass the time. If you’re like me and you’ve had to suddenly come home from university, it’s always a challenge adjusting back into family life and can be very frustrating.
For me, the biggest thing is not having the full independence I have at university, but I sure do enjoy not having to wash up everytime I eat when I’m at home!
Whether you all sit down for a meal together, watch TV or play a board game, spending time with your family is a great way to appreciate what you have. Also, if you have relatives that are perhaps isolating alone at the moment, set up a nightly or weekly phone call to help ease their loneliness at this time.
Sticking together at a time of crisis like this is absolutely crucial and is something that will ensure we get through the worst times.
That’s it for this blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed it and are all doing ok during this challenging time.
Stay safe x