And now, in 2020, after weeks of government announcements, media reports, distressing footage, cancelled flights and countries in lock down (as well as a myriad of conflicting conspiracy theories), the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on March 11 that the spread of COVID-19 is now classified as a global pandemic.
How this affects your health
The risks associated with contraction of the actual virus aside (this article will not focus on the important and imperative measures around hand washing, hygiene and potentially self isolation), there’s not a person on earth who’s witnessed a phenomenon like this in our lifetime.
Social distancing and quarantine measures have quickly become the norm. Occurrences in our daily lives we often take for granted such as work, plane travel, events and sport have been disrupted. This has left many of us understandably feeling out of control, fearful, and pessimistic about the future.
Questions you may be asking yourself include – how could my health be affected? How will this impact my family? My employment? My children’s school? The economy? Unfortunately at this stage, no one has the answers to these questions. Even if they did, they are subject to often and frequent change.
There are very few of us who like living in a world of no answers.
Altogether, it’s a very, very stressful time. And its well-documented stress can affect your immunity, especially for prolonged periods. Lowered immunity increases your chances of contracting any illness. Especially when they are highly contagious.
So where does love come into this?
Tinder has set up advice on its dating app around hygiene, hand washing and social distancing norms to reduce the risk of infection and spreading of COVID-19 this week.
Which stands to reason, but that’s another article, for another time.
The type of love I’m referring to is self-love. And let’s face it, when you have work commitments, children (and the potential of school closures), a partner, parents and a myriad of other responsibilities (like stockpile shopping for food), self love at the moment sounds at best, time consuming, and at worst, narcissistic.
Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not.
Have you heard of the oxygen mask analogy before on a plane? You always put yours on first and then others second. It’s simple. You can’t be of service to anyone else unless you are looking after yourself.
Possibly the greatest gift you can give to family, friends, colleagues and our planet in this pandemic is to comply with your obligations as a member of the public whilst maintaining reasonable stress levels and focus on your health.
This may sound easier than it is. Self-love means being mindful of habits that don’t serve you and reserving a bit of time (even 10-15 minutes a day is enough) to do something nice - just for you.
7 ways to get more love and stress less in a pandemic:
1. Keep a check on your media consumption
This is a tough one. It’s incredibly important to keep across significant developments from the media during this time of uncertainty. However the effect of reading every media report, social media post and newsfeed article can be very stressful. Set a schedule that you feel comfortable with rather than being glued to your feed constantly. It will free up your time to focus on other things.
As low to moderate-intensity exercise naturally lowers cortisol levels and helps with immune-system function, doctors recommend 30 to 60 minutes each day. If you’re worried about germs in the gym, walk or run outside in good distance from others.
3. Do something small for yourself every day
Whatever makes you feel happy, set some time aside each day to do it. It may be drinking a cup of tea in the sunshine, a virtual yoga class, gardening or listening to a meditation or calming music. You could even start chipping away at that decluttering project for your home or garage.
4. Get adequate sleep
One of the greatest immune boosters is adequate sleep. Try and find a ritual that assists you to fall asleep and stay asleep each night. This may mean cutting back on news and caffeine just before bedtime - replaced with reading a good book or listening to calming music.
5. Write it all down
Spend a few minutes each day journaling – don’t worry too much about what you write just write! There is plenty of evidence to show the benefits and catharsis of this routine during stressful period of life.
Accepting that for all of us this is our “new normal”. By making the necessary adjustments to be as productive (and compliant) as possible in a period of rapid change, will go a long way to contributing to your health and those of others.
There is still so much to be grateful for.
For instance, acknowledging the incredible work of health professionals, emergency workers, and volunteers across the world that lie at the face of this virus treating those affected. Our teachers, who rise every day and look after our children in times of good or bad. Specialists working with governments to ‘flatten the curve’ in order to reduce the spread of infection. The media, who work around the clock to keep us up to date with news.
Our family, friends, children, pets, the list goes on..
All the above suggestions are to address physical, mental and spiritual health. Choose which ones work for you and include them in your daily routine. We shouldn’t need a pandemic to remind us to look after ourselves, however it’s never too late to start.
Disclaimer: This Content has been developed from our generous global community and is intended for informational purposes only. This Content is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon. Further, the personal views and experiences published are expressly those of the author, and do not represent the views or endorsement of SoulAdvisor through the act of publication on our site.