This article was first published in the Newcastle Herald.
Yesterday we went to the supermarket for the first time in almost a week. The reality of the fear that the general population is feeling played out before our eyes. Empty shelves where bread, rice, pasta, flour and toilet paper were once in abundance.
Many comments and judgements have been made about this behaviour, but the reality is, this is a sign that we are feeling out of control. As this global pandemic creates greater uncertainty by the minute, our levels of anxiety and fear continue to rise.
So how can we as individuals, families and communities take control of our emotional, physical and mental wellbeing during these extraordinary times?
Get back to the simple things that have served us well no matter what the circumstances. We need to build our resistance to what lies ahead. Take action to better nourish ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally.
Physically we need to fuel our bodies with fresh, wholesome food, lots of water, plenty of sleep and regular movement, fresh air and sunshine.
Emotionally we need to stay connected, even during times of social distancing. Take time to reflect, reset and remember what we truly value – family, friends, health, spending time with loved ones, eating together, time in nature, and checking in to see how others are doing. There are plenty of apps to keep connected. We’re using FaceTime to stay in touch with our parents who are self-quarantining five minutes up the road.
Mentally we must be mindful of the quality of the information we are consuming. We can limit the time we spend receiving mass media (reduce the negative) and take time to watch, listen to and read things that are uplifting and inspiring. Whether it’s podcasts, music, videos, movies, documentaries, these help to calm the mind and relieve stress. Create art, sing, dance and play games.
It’s important to acknowledge the fear we’re all feeling, but equally important that we collectively strive to work towards finding the courage to get through this.
We all have the capacity to think differently, to show leadership and be role models to the people around us.