As the impact of COVID-19 is felt across the world, for many of us, the way we live our lives has had to change. It’s easy to start to feel like everything is out of your control in these uncertain times when the information and advice is changing every day.
Ken Bottrell, who lives with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease says while self-isolation can be challenging mentally and emotionally, keeping to a routine and setting small, achievable goals helps him to stay motivated and productive.
“I think accepting the situation is a really important first step. I would love to be out fishing, but I can’t do that right now. Left to my own devices I would just sit here and whinge and moan, but I’m focusing on being grateful for what I have and staying productive,” Ken said.
“I’m setting myself targets each day – at least one hour of doing something useful and getting to all those things I’ve been putting off. Whether that’s washing the car or trimming back the trees and bushes in the garden.
Embracing technology is helping Ken to stay connected to loved ones.
“What’s that old saying? ‘Adversity is a great teacher’. I’m broadening my horizons and getting into technology so I can stay in the loop and stay connected with what’s going on, including Lung Foundation Australia’s series of COVID-19 webinars which have been really practical and helpful.”
Clinical Psychologist Debra Sandford, who has been sharing her expertise throughout the webinar series, says now is an important time to prioritise both your physical and mental health.
“Regularly drink water, eat healthy and nourishing food to fuel your body and try and keep your body moving. Like Ken says, as tempting as it is, don’t stay in your jammies. Wake up when you normally would and get dressed for the day and use this time to complete jobs around the house that you will be proud of.”
Maintaining awareness of your emotions and practicing simple strategies will help you to cope with the unique challenges you’re currently facing.
“Humans are social creatures and we need interaction with others. Social distancing and self-isolation go against our natural inclination. It’s normal to have feelings of loneliness, sadness, anxiousness, fear and frustration. Be gentle with yourself at these times,” Debra said.
“You might also notice these emotions in your loved ones, particularly those you live with. It’s normal for households to experience tension and strain at times like these.
“If you are feeling tense or notice you have a shorter temper than usual, give each other some space then come back and discuss the issue calmly. Also, look for the positives, bolster each other up. Find things to do that you both enjoy.”