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Wellness Wednesday: 'Keep it simple' during this Covid-19 isolation, says a psychotherapist

Embracing the simple things and going easy on ourselves will be key, writes Siobhán Murray.

Siobhán Murray Resilience/life coach and psychotherapist

It’s a difficult time for everyone, with the Covid-19 outbreak bringing severe and unexpected changes to our lives, along with new concepts like ‘social distancing’ and ‘cocooning’.

Here at TheJournal.ie, we are launching a weekly Voices column, ‘Wellness Wednesday’, in which we feature advice and information from mental health professionals, yoga teachers, mindfulness practitioners and many more. We hope this weekly section will help you, our readers, navigate this unprecedented shift in how we live.

If you’re running daily online classes, meditations or creative outlets for people at home, we’d love to hear from you. Email your details to voices@thejournal.ie with “WELLNESS” in the subject line.

This week, Siobhán Murray, life coach and psychotherapist offers practical advice on how to cope with the changes:

TWO WEEKS AGO our lives were very different.  Some of us were heading to work, kids going to school or college and every one of us was navigating the normal worries each of our lives held. 

Two weeks later and we are navigating a very different world, a world that is changing on a daily basis. Our minds are being bombarded by and overloaded with information from not just our own country but from around the globe.

Last week was what I would describe as the ‘trauma’ – a busy, frenetic and frantic week. There was a mad dash to get home-office spaces set up and to get some level of routine going for children regarding schooling from home.

We went into battle mode with this virus and the focus for parents was how to entertain younger children that are now not able to go to a creche. We also had to process being let-go from jobs and to create a new way of living. All in a week! That is key here, you are being asked to create a new way of living, and one you didn’t choose or want.  

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So how exactly do you navigate this ever-changing world?  

Firstly, we need to realise is that we are not robots. On an intellectual level, we may understand the changes that are happening around us, however, on an emotional level, we are still playing catch-up for the fast pace of what we are experiencing.

Fluid in our thinking

With all the advice on structure and routine (which is needed) we also need to be fluid in our thinking.  

Fluid Thinking allows you to be adaptable to daily changes in your own personal routine and when you allow yourself to be adaptable in your thinking it allows you to be adaptable in your feelings. 

It lets you acknowledge the rollercoaster of emotions but not to get caught and stuck in them. At moments like this, it is important to hear your thoughts and experience your feelings.  

Fluid in our actions

If you have a structured plan for your day and it doesn’t go to plan, that’s ok!  This is the most abnormal situation you have ever experienced, and therefore there is no right or wrong way to manage your day.

Having a basic routine i.e. breakfast, lunch, dinner and a short walk every day (if you can) is a good starting point, but don’t feel you need to fill every minute with things to do – you don’t.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with new things to do.  If your day or week was already busy don’t feel you have to start an online course or clear every cupboard in the house.  If you have lost your job acknowledge how you feel about it and then research what you are entitled to and how you can apply.

Avoid the pressure to be ‘perfect’

We live in a world where we tap into social media several times a day. Social media can be a wonderful tool, and the past week has shown how helpful a resource it can be, but it often pushes perfection on us and that can be an issue. No one’s life is perfect, so go easy on yourself in this regard.

If you don’t normally play board games with your family because it ends up with no-one speaking to each other, then don’t expect your family to suddenly become like a Disney movie. 

shutterstock_1155689350 Source: Shutterstock/Axel Bueckert

Keep it simple, keep it basic, this may sound like a bizarre piece of advice but this will make sense in a few weeks – ‘set the bar low’. 

This is a marathon without a finish line, it’s not a sprint so take a deep breath and realise that today you’re doing well and how you feel today is all you have to manage.

Siobhan Murray is a resilience/life coach and a psychotherapist. She is the author of The Burnout Solution, a book that offers a step-by-step guide to overcoming burnout.

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About the author:

Siobhán Murray  / Resilience/life coach and psychotherapist

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