World Health Day is on Tuesday April 7, 2020, as outlined by The World Health Organisation.
Never has World Health Day seemed more appropriate to acknowledge than this year. People globally are battling Coronavirus, health care professionals are working around the clock and the world has been hugely impacted by COVID-19. Clearly health is our Number One Priority.
World Health Day includes our mental and emotional health, too. While it’s vital we follow the Australian Government guidelines for keeping physically healthy, it’s important to also practice self care to preserve our mental and emotional health. We also need to to work through any fear that we may have associated with our current world situation and the fall-out from it.
I’ve devised a list of tips that may help you remain calm and collected on a daily basis, not just on World Health Day.
Check in with your reality (as opposed to the fear-mongering)
Yes, COVID-19 is indeed a serious global concern. However, there is also a great deal of fear and panic that is not necessarily based around scientific or medical fact. It is vital to remember this in order to keep your emotional and mental health in balance.
It’s normal and completely OK to feel frightened. It’s a perfectly natural human response, which harks back to our survival response of ‘flight or fight’.
The first step is to acknowledge your feelings of anxiety, stress or fear. Then, ask yourself, “am I OK in this moment?” “Am I safe?”
Usually, the answer will be ‘yes’. However, the fear we are seeing amongst many communities is enough to rattle even the most stoic amongst us. Acknowledging the fear is the first step in overcoming it.
There is a healthiness to fear that we shouldn’t overlook.Especially for those who are elderly, immune compromised or have pre-existing medical and mental health conditions. And then of course there is the real fear of losing your income or job and wondering how you will pay your bills.
On World Health Day – Remember How lucky Australia is!
It is important to remember, especially on World Health Day, that Australia has a robust health care system, and our government is doing its best to quickly implement financial support for those affected.
At this juncture, it is well worth remembering that humanity has survived many other serious world crises such as 2008’s Global Financial Crisis, the Great Depression in the 1920s and two World Wars. Granted the death toll from the Great Depression and both World Wars were significant and the GFC, being fiscal issue, saw a very tragic number of deaths from its impact.
We will make it through this too. Just remember to try to stay calm. Even if you feel things are spiralling out of control. My blog on control covers ways to deal with this.
Also know that having a rational and healthy fear of COVID-19 is a very good thing. It supports social distancing and self-isolation for those who think they may have been exposed to the virus and those who wish to reduce their risk of exposure.
If at any time you feel overwhelmed, or you are not coping, please firstly remember this is very normal and that you are not alone. Then, please do seek professional help immediately. You can call organisations like Beyond Blue or visit your GP to discuss mental health plans.
Tune Out Social Media and ‘Fake News’
Remember the old ‘chain letters’ of the past decades? Social Media is a modern reinvention of these. DO NOT read or click through anything on Social Media surrounding COVID-19 that does not come from legitimate, credible and time-honoured news sources, or a certified medical or scientific journal.
Look to legitimate news sources such as www.abc.net.au, The Australian Government Department of Health and WHO.
On that note, take a break from your screens. Sit in the garden with a cup of tea and a great book. Connect with your parents, kids or friends. Facetime, ZOOM and other online apps are great for this. Try meditating. If you’re new to it, there are plenty of guided meditation apps you can download from the App Store that can gently lead you into this practise. Just enjoy being in the ‘pause’ that this situation is actually affording us.
I cannot stress this enough. The reaction around COVID-19 seems to be bringing out the worst in so many people, which is directly related to fear.
Try to carry out a random act of kindness every day, not just on World Health Day. It will improve the other person’s day, as well as help build your mood and enhance your self esteem.
I remember the kindness within my community during the recent bushfires. It went so far – not just for the fire fighters, but for the affected families and it brought our entire community together like never before.
Don’t Play The Blame Game
If “Julie” from Day Care happened to pick up COVID-19 while on her trip overseas, do not blame her for spreading it to Australia. As we know, the virus presents in many forms and not everyone who has it knows they have it. There is so much that is unknown about this virus at this point in time, so treat everyone with understanding and compassion. We all know “Julie” would be feeling bad enough without a world full of judgement coming down her as well.
Do What The Authorities Tell You To Do
We are now in a 90 Day Lockdown and are only allowed out of our house for 16 legitimate reasons. Please follow all the advice and rules that have been laid out – for your physical and mental health, as well as that of others.
You can still socialise via technology such as SKYPE, FACEBOOK LIVE and ZOOM.
You may even like to spark up your brain power and challenge your mates to a game of Words with Friends.
Make a gratitude list. Keep it somewhere handy and read it whenever you need to. The World has survived a lot worse than COVID-19 and it will survive this too. A study where people were deliberately infected with influenza showed that those with positive thought patterns had improved immunity overall. Positivity really works.
Take Advantage of Your Extra Time
Why not learn a new skill? TAFE is offering a suite of 21 fee-free TAFE NSW short online courses to assist anyone across NSW who wants to up-skill during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 21 short courses include:
– eMarketing for Small Business;
– Engaging Customers Using Social Media;
– Writing and Presentation Skills;
– Computing Skills;
– Team Leader Skill Set; and
– Administration Skills for Team Leaders.
More information, including a full list of courses, is available at https://www.tafensw.edu.au/ or by calling 131 601.
Send Some Treats To Your Local Hospital
Our medics are at the front line of this crisis and are likely exhausted. Send a care pack to them of sweets, crisps, protein bars, energy drinks and the like. Let them know the community is thinking of them and that their hard work is not unnoticed. Don’t forget these people and try to do this on the regular. They will be working on this for weeks to come and need our unwavering support.
Remember, if at any time you are feeling overwhelmed, please contact me. I am available for ZOOM sessions while we are in Lockdown, and am here to offer support to you through this challenging time and beyond.
Stay safe, stay healthy,