Apr 27, 2020 / by Katharine
Self-care in a Time of Anxiety Coping with COVID -19
Committee member and Allied Health Professional Tim Harvey has put together some Self Care advice to help us get through this difficult time together.
1. We’re used to thinking that we can plan our lives now and into the future, but this certainty is now gone for all of us.
2. So we easily become involved in seductive discussions about our and others awful COVID-19 experiences. When we’re fearful, we may obsess with the news spread through social media and gossip. We need good factual information at this vitally important time – for example Federal and State governments and the ABC.
3. Although" class="redactor-autoparser-object">www.abc.net.au/news/story-stre... this experience is being shared by all humanity, recognise that you are the Universe’s expert on how it is impacting
You have your own set of circumstances and reactions to what is happening to you and your loved ones. So it’s not useful to follow advice such as “Don’t be scared” and “Don’t worry”. Only you know what your own feeling reaction is. Telling yourself not to feel is not effective – dealing with your feelings in a supportive and thoughtful way is.
4. Imagine your own fear and anxiety being expressed by a troubled inner Child. First listen without judgement to become aware of exactly what the feelings are. Writing them down may help. Then deal with them as a loving Adult would.
For example, decide how to best provide a healthy environment – diet, exercise and sleep. Exercise is important for your body and mind. This may be an opportunity to do interesting and fun things that you’ve put off in your busy life up to now.
5.It’s vitally important that all parts of your brain work together for your benefit at this time. Your brainstem looks after bodily functions – the threat to your body is why your feelings are strong enough to accept drastic isolating measures. The Limbic system of your brain is the feeling part (the inner Child) and your Neocortex is your thinking part – able to make and execute plans for the future (the Adult).
The Neocortex’s job is guide us lovingly and firmly through this challenge. Childlike responses such as panicking, rebelling, over-eating and drinking are not helpful right now. So you need your Neocortex to locate reliable information that you can safely take action on. Choose what works best for you and incorporate as much fun as possible realising that this is a hugely stressful time for your inner Child. Meditating, Yoga and Tai Chi are wonderful ways to help here. What about things you loved doing as a child? – maybe bushwalking, fishing, cycling? Anything outdoors that can be done safely by yourself.
6. This is a challenging time for relationships – don’t let your fearful, angry Child rule. Negotiate agreements about how to talk with each other – with respect, listening carefully without judgement and not giving unasked-for advice. Agree a time-out from the conversation if you find yourself getting frustrated or angry.
If you can learn from this experience, important relationships (within yourself, with family and at work) will emerge from this challenging time with more strength, understanding and joy.
Tim Harvey Clinical Member PACFA 0414 704 087 [email protected]
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