How are you dealing with the pandemic?
Do you find you are having up days and down days?
We as people with Cystic Fibrosis are used to so much that the normal population are not. We wear our masks for hospital visits, we wash our hands and avoid sick people as a norm and we are used to the occasional, or frequent, bouts of isolation. Either in hospital or at home.
But the lockdown may feel like a different situation. Many of you may be feeling overwhelmed at not knowing what the future holds or may be wondering how to manage your anxiety.
We’ve put together a few ideas of practical things you can do to make this lockdown period more manageable.
Try and keep a routine or flow to the day
Have a predictable routine. This can help you to feel like your day has direction. Keep your normal treatment routine and ensure meal times and exercises are roughly scheduled, which can help to give your day a sense of predictability.
Set small manageable goals
Setting goals can give you the opportunity to feel like you are achieving something in the day. It doesn’t have to be big tasks; it can even be as simple as cleaning out a cupboard.
Making a list of “things you can control” can be a very grounding exercise
If you start feeling overwhelmed or anxious about the situation, make a list of all the things you can control. Your activities in the day, who you communicate with, your reactions to the situation, etc. When you start seeing your list of “controllables” then the list of things you can’t control may not seem quite so overwhelming.
Try and avoid watching the news or social media if it’s causing anxiety
Do you find that the hype of social media is causing you to feel stressed or overwhelmed?
Find a level of information that you’re comfortable with and try and stick to that. If you find yourself watching or reading News to the point where it’s creating anxiety, take a News or Social Media break.
Focus on challenges you’ve already overcome
If you feel overwhelmed with the prospect of lockdown or the unknown, look at other challenges you’ve overcome. As people with Cystic Fibrosis we often overcome more than most. We are used to overcoming challenges that put us to the test, not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally. Listing your biggest challenges that you’ve overcome in the past can remind you of how strong you truly are and what you are capable of overcoming.
Try and get outside where possible!
Research has proved that getting out
side has the ability to reduce stress as well as decrease depression and anxiety (among other things). If you live in a flat or don’t have a garden, try to find safe ways of getting out of the house where possible.
Being aware of what you DO have can often change your perspective.
Sometimes we get so focused on w
hat we can’t do which can lead to making us feel down or anxious. A great way to shift your perspective is to think of all the things you do have! Write a list of things you are grateful for at this time. You can start from the simplest things like food and a bed to sleep in and then try and expand your list. Try and reach 50 items or more if you can!
Find ways to encourage mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of living in the present moment. Not living in the past and wondering why things have happened, and not living in the future wondering what will happen. For when you think about it, the present is all we have.
There are lots of different ways to be mindful and some may work better for you than others.
-Daily exercise like Yoga or Pilates
-Breathing exercises (breathwork, or yoga breathing practices)
-5 senses exercise (Sit quietly and list 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste)
-Mindful art activities
Or any activity that requires your focus and helps you to be present in the moment.
Stay in touch with those who offer you support and understanding
Sometimes just having a chat on Zoom or a phone call can make a big difference to your mood. You may need to go out of your comfort zone and be open and tell people that you need a bit of interaction. At this stage many people are coping with their own situation and may not be aware of the fact that you need extra support.
Try and stay as positive as you can! This too shall pass.
“I know what I have to do now, I’ve got to keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” Chuck Noland
(SACFA Social Media Group)