MODIFIED CLIENT LETTER
18 March 2020
You probably don’t want yet more information about the Corona virus as it’s relentless. And quite frankly, that’s the problem. There is ALREADY TOO MUCH! So why am I sending you more?
I am writing this in the hope that you may find some coping mechanisms in here that will help you get through these uncertain times in the most undamaged way possible! They are based on how I am managing. Some suggestions will resonate with you, others not so, but take from it what you want.
We have been exposed to the worst and the best sides of human nature.
Everyone is being affected by these unprecedented events. It’s reminiscent of war-time. We have been exposed to the worst and the best sides of human nature. At the beginning, it was sad to be shown exclusively the level of national fear, stirred up by the media’s misinformation and unrelenting focus on the selfish behaviour of the fearful few. There is fortunately a balance that has started to emerge not from the media but from the vast majority of individuals in their own kind ways.
Personally, I hope that humanity evolves its thinking into realising that selfish minds are lonely minds and that compassionate minds are healthy minds. Compassion is what will lead us through such unprecedented national times. I hope that the Coronavirus pandemic reduces the “fake connectedness” that we have created over the last 15 years since Fakebook began and reprioritises what is really important. SINCERE CONNECTION AND COMPASSION.
Some of you may already be doing a lot of what I have written in this document, but you might like to have an insight into the things that are helping me enjoy every day. You know me, I have a baseline of self-care activities and ways of being that I get on with almost every day, but I’d like to share a few key ones that you might like at this time.
Be safe, be optimistically creative, be kind to yourself and others.
MY KEY DAILY SELF-CARE IN ORDINARY TIMES
Keeping the first 10 minutes of your day mobile phone and laptop-free sets the tone of your day towards your own priorities, not the rest of the world’s. If we feed our brains in their fragile waking up state with negative messages, it actively reduces the initial level of energy we start with at the beginning of the day. Our energy then doesn’t last us as late into the evenings as we’d like.
Instead of continuing with a neutral habit, did you know that you nurture your mental health so much better through breathing well for 10 minutes a day? The Calm app has “daily meditations” which you don’t even have to choose, you just click on the day’s recording and close your eyes. Aim to schedule it or remind yourself to do it 4-5 days per week. Getting oxygen to the brain and releasing even low-level anxiety in the stomach is like pressing the re-set button. It’s easy but powerful. calm.com/science
- Dopamine-stimulating foods and drinks are remarkably effective. No wonder many people like cheese! As well as naturally occuring dopamine stimulation, if you like certain foods or drinks, it could well be because of what you have decided they “represent” for you. Your brain sends signals to your body to stimulate dopamine when you give yourself whatever you personally have classified as a “treat”. I mention alcohol specifically as it can be a way to create fuzz within over-active minds (which are further activated by national stresses). If you can start to classify a 0.5% alcohol beer as an end of day “treat” this will give you freedom and power.
- So, whatever we choose to consider as a “well deserved treat” sends signals to our brain to stimulate the dopamine. So if we “think” we like celery, listening to audio books, reading, baths or checking our phones 5,000 times an evening, we will like them!
- Keep caffeine intake down as when we are anxious we don’t need caffeine!
- Think about your physical activities too – be creative in how you adapt to being kept away from your regular activities. I usually go swimming once a week but am just walking (2m apart) up my local lanes near trees. Maybe you can drive to a park and take in some fresh air? And sing!
- Set time limits on your phone for when you will receive incoming information. Yes really…..
- Every evening, listen to, read or watch at least 30 minutes of something that makes you laugh out loud. Preferably 60 minutes.
MORE AND BETTER QUALITY SLEEP
Everyone benefits from a bedtime routine to set you up for a good night’s sleep. Sleep also boosts our immune system.
- Get early nights. When you’re fearful, sleep can be intermittent. The light mornings might be waking you up earlier too and if your head is instantly full of Corona stress, you will probably not be able to go back to sleep when you wake early.
- What if you can get to sleep but wake up in the middle of the night? Find a Calm app sleep story and get it ready on your phone to have under your pillow so that if/when you wake up at night you can get back to sleep. You can download stories and put your phone onto Airplane mode so your brain doesn’t fry.
TIPS FOR CORONA EXTRA-ORDINARY TIMES
BE THE GATEKEEPER OF YOUR MIND
Listen to the news twice a day max. No need to keep in high alert mode every hour. If it’s important, you’ll hear about it by the end of the day. You need to prevent your body from being in fight or flight mode all day long. It is much more damaging than you realise and it’s mentally and physically exhausting.
Read this refreshing page with the latest Corona good news.
OFFER YOUR SUPPORT TO YOUR NEIGHBOURS (and maybe even be supported)
Connect with your local neighbours using Nextdoor.co.uk – create an account (you don’t have to add your house number if you don’t want to, but given the circumstances, you might want to). Find the thread of posts about Corona Virus and have a look to see if this link to postcards is there. Non vulnerable people can complete and pop these postcards into their neighbours’ doors. After I had got in touch with my vulnerable neighbours and made my services known, I felt an immense relief!
Postcard to pop into your neighbours’ doors: viral kindness postcards
Where possible have WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype or Zoom calls regularly so you don’t feel the lack of social company so much. For work and personal calls, Zoom is great as the recipient doesn’t need to download any software on their computer. Have video group evenings if it’s someone’s birthday. Or to replace a suspended physical event.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SCHEDULED INTERACTION
Older people in particular need calls (previously visits or events) booked in their diary. It makes them feel significantly more relaxed and they are able to enjoy the non-contact days so much more. This is really true. Given that social contact is effectively suspended, actually make a point of scheduling (regular if possible) calls in advance. Even if you end up having more frequent, shorter calls, it means that people can relax in the knowledge that there is some interaction to count on and look forward to.
CARDS AND GIFTS
Cards: May I recommend Moonpig.com to buy and post cards without the need to go to a shop, have the stamp or post the card? They sell gifts too. I recommend using it on Google Chrome browser so you don’t lose your creative work!
Plants: Obviously you can send flowers using Yell.com and calling the recipient’s local florist but at this time, you may want them to have a longer lasting plant. If you want to send a gift in place of an in-person visit, may I suggest plants4presents.co.uk? Put your own mobile number as part of the recipients’ contact details though otherwise the surprise will be ruined! On delivery, you get an email so you could phone your recipient afterwards to make sure they see the delivery.
Ginger (I actually eat crystallised ginger from Holland and Barrett most nights), garlic, turmeric powder (in coffee), parsley, sage, thyme, mushrooms, yoghurt, cinnamon and a little liquorice. Yum.
GROCERIES AND SUPPLIES
Get yourself an online delivery booked even for 3 weeks away. If you don’t already have an online account, supermarkets are restricting new accounts so either ask a neighbour or use Nextdoor.co.uk and ask for a few items to be added to someone’s else’s next shop. Items can be added to an existing order the day before delivery, even if the original order was made weeks in advance.
Keep a pair of gloves or anti-viral gel/santiser next to the front door if you need to sign for any deliveries.
Check your supplies of printer ink and paper etc and anything you might be needing more of if you’re working from home.
Put a pair of any old gloves in your car and keep them there. Use them to deliver and pay for petrol. Take them off before you drive. The UK has plenty of petrol, especially now that people are not travelling as much.
Have a look at a separate article about official Coronavirus links worth looking at.
Get in touch if you’d like more details about anything in this document. Stay well.