• Deborah Petrou

Feel the fear... and keep going.

In 1987 Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. urged us to 'feel the fear and do it anyway'. She urged her readers to grab hold of their fears and move forward with their lives. It's something that I can't get out of my mind in recent weeks, especially with the uncertainty of life in the shadow of Covid-19.

With many of us feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed, it’s important to think about ways we can look after ourselves and those close to us. Following the latest government advice we’re washing our hands regularly and avoiding social contact. Some of us are working from home, self-isolating, looking after children etc. How do we carry on with the day-to-day business of living when all we want to do is stay in bed and give in?

Mental Health is just as important as Physical Health:

Life will look different for a while and none of us knows how long this will last. We need to carry on as best we can, but how?

Plan, plan, plan:

If you are working from home, you’ll have some structure but remember to take regular breaks. If you are looking after children, work out a timetable including:

▪ Lesson times

▪ Playtime

▪ Lunch

Take a break:

Try and do something together at during the day. Have lunch, watch TV, bake a cake, and cook together. Get everyone involved!

Do something physical:

Go for a walk – if safe to do so.

Do a workout - there are some great exercise apps and channels online.

Get outside if you have a garden.

In a house? - run up and down the stairs a few times.

Relax. Meditate, breathe, do some yoga or gentle stretches.

Be social media savvy:

Set some time aside to catch up with others. Check in with friends and family to offset loneliness – yours and theirs.

Give the news a break:

Watching rolling news all day long will increase stress levels.

Many of us are feeling the strain and it’s okay to feel stressed, down, tearful or whatever.

Cut yourself some slack! We are not alone. This is a global pandemic.

If our children go back to school with gaps in their learning, it’s fine. As long as they are mentally and physically healthy, they will catch up. This is a great time to teach them life skills – cooking, cleaning, knitting, sewing, how to make do and mend – it’s no coincidence that one of the most popular TV shows is currently BBC’s ‘The Repair Shop’.

Aim to have some structure in your day but don’t beat yourself too much if you don’t. By all means decorate your home if you want to. Catch up with odd jobs but don’t feel bad if you don’t. You are not failing. You are living through a scary time. Not everyone will come out of this with a perfectly clean home and a six pack.

So feel the fear and keep on going.

Stay strong. Stay safe. Stay sane.

This will pass.

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