By the Campaign Against Living Miserably.
Illustrations by William Stone.
You may well have noticed, but we’re living through uncertain times. News is coming in all the time and each day brings new questions. It can be easy to feel out of control and uncertain. But in all this confusion one thing you can be certain of is that, here at CALM, we’re with you every day.
Our helpline is open 5pm-midnight ready to offer practical advice to help you deal with however you’re feeling. We’ve also put together some tips to help you put some order around your day and tackle everything in the best way possible. We don’t have all the answers but we think these things will help:
It’s OK to turn off the news and social media for a bit. It’s very tempting to watch and watch (and then watch some more) all the information that’s coming in. But don’t do that to yourself. Avoid news that could make you feel anxious and choose the stuff that’s practical and helpful. Check the news once or twice a day and decide on specific times you’re going to do it (9am and 5pm, for example).
There’s also a LOT of misinformation out there (@BigDave8183892 probably doesn’t know as much about the virus as he claims he does) so stick to trusted sources. And try and share the positive stories you see: of people who have recovered or even a post on Twitter that made you laugh.
… to your mates. Even if you’re stuck at home, in our interconnected world there are loads of ways to chat to your friends and family, without seeing them IRL. Play FIFA with your mates. Facetime your mum (she’ll love that). Hell, organise a Google hangout and have a beer if you want to recreate a pub. Connecting and checking in with each other is more important than ever and can help ease the stress caused by all the news. BUT remember you can always mute WhatsApp groups and Facebook groups if you’re finding them too overwhelming
Now’s the perfect time to exercise that empathy muscle and reach out to help other people. Use this opportunity to connect with those you’ve not spoken to in a while, and check in with people that may need it. Livestream shows for your mates. Stage a huge Mario Kart tournament. You might be stuck indoors but the virtual world can be your oyster.
KEEP UP your daily routine
… and, er, don’t. If that sounds contradictory we just mean you have to strike a balance between having a routine and making sure each day has some variety.
It can be hard to begin to accept this new normal (anyone else find themselves cleaning the toaster out at 6.30am?). If you’re finding the change difficult, it might help to build yourself a new routine – getting up, eating and doing familiar things at set times can help you to feel a little more in control of the situation.
But also change it up a little. Learn simple daily physical exercises you can perform at home. Keep a To-Do list so you can see you’re achieving something. Go for a run. Skype your mates. Even doing mundane things like cleaning the oven can help. All of it will help to keep you active and reduce boredom (apart from the oven thing).
Running, cycling and walking are all still options on the table (even if events you’d planned for might not be), and then there’s loads of online workouts to explore at home. From yoga to Hiit, and extreme beginner to expert, getting your blood pumping is a great way to get out of your head.
LET OUT your feelings
Having that realisation that you’re feeling overwhelmed or annoyed at trivial things? Totally normal. Finding it tricky to adjust to an unfamiliar way of living? Yep, normal. Letting family or friends know you’re finding times tough? Well, that should be normal too. In fact it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed or upset about a lot of this. Getting it out is the best policy – whether that’s needing a bit of space or unloading your feelings. Social distancing doesn’t mean emotional distancing.
IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING, TALK TO US
This is a difficult time with a whole lot of unique pressures. From financial worries to health anxieties, if things are getting on top of you, call CALM on 0800 58 58 58 or through our web chat. Our trained support workers are available from 5pm to midnight every day to provide practical support and advice, whatever you’re going through.