Coping with coronavirus (covid-19) mindfully
It's always scary when the news is full of just one thing - and at the moment its the coronavirus (or Covid-19).
It makes the Brexit debates seem like old news and almost "cosy" compared with the fear that is present in so many quarters just now.
Fears about health tap into our fears about life and death and make our frailty more obvious. We worry about family and friends and wonder what changes we should make ourselves to make everything that little bit safer. We might feel tempted to stockpile goods in order to feel a bit more in control.
At times like these, our underlying mental health needs may seem completely overwhelming.
Most of us are used to tapping into social media many times a day, but perhaps now is the time to restrict our viewing and to focus on things that make us feel more relaxed or happy. Getting out for some exercise while we still can, or getting into that neglected hobby, or even re-decorating that bedroom may be helpful.
It may help to have a look at what the usual statistics are for death by infectious diseases, or many other health conditions, and to see that we have to manage the fear of death more often than we may like to admit. Some people find it helpful to reach out to something greater than themselves, at times of fear and crisis.
It may also help to look at reliable sources for up to date information. As of today, 16th March 2020, 78,339 people have recovered from the virus.
If you are anxious about going out of your home for counselling sessions, many of us also offer telephone or Skype sessions.
This morning I was up early for an appointment and heard the joy of the little birds just tuning up for the dawn chorus. Watching the sky lighten as I drove along with a good friend beside me and the early signs of Spring passing by the windows of the car, made me realise that there is much to be thankful for. Maybe a little mindfulness would help you too?
Mindfulness is essentially a word that describes focusing on your 'felt sensations' as you enjoy the world around you and as you identify what makes you feel less comfortable. It is a way to understand your body as a barometer of your feelings - they may be 'set fair', or 'stormy', or 'on the change'.
As an example, I have recently discovered how much more enjoyment I get from eating sourdough bread (toasted) rather than the regular supermarket bread, even wholemeal. There is something about the chewiness of the sensation as you bite into a slice of sourdough toast, perhaps spread with butter and a good quality jam, that is very satisfying. It takes longer to chew and swallow but seems to feel more comforting. You may have a favourite food that not only is good for your health but which makes you feel good too. Why not try mindfully eating your breakfast, or mindfully walking the dog, over the coming weeks, and see what a difference it makes?