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Coronavirus Care Kit

We are living a tough time together. Covid-19 has changed everything and it is hard not to get caught up in the cascade of anxiety, stress, and uncertainty. To control the spread of the virus we are required to stay home and isolate, leading also to feelings of boredom, fear, frustration, loneliness and anxiety.

And yet, we always have the capacity to choose our response to any situation and this pandemic is no exception. There are things we can control to aid us in maintaining good mental health at this peculiar and, undeniably, scary time.

Seek support by communicating your worries and fears.

Keep calm and do online therapy. Consider speaking to one of our therapists from Therapy in Barcelona if you feel you need professional support to help you process your anxieties at this time. 

Please read on for some ideas for your Coronavirus Care Kit.

Connect

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Many things are out of our control, including our capacity to leave our homes freely, but we can choose to maintain our social and familial networks. Reach out to family and friends via the abundant technological resources we have at our disposal. I notice people commenting that one benefit of this challenging moment is the ability to be able to casually call a friend for a chat without feeling as though it is an imposition. Set regular times for touching base and know which friends make great listeners, or which friends are better to shoot the breeze and laugh with. Prepare meals or have meals with friends and family via video calls. Positive social interactions are essential for boosting our mood, so make sure you reach out. Chances are the person on the other end needs the connection too.

Sleep

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Sleep and nutrition are pillars of our mental health. Maintain a consistent sleep and wake time as you do under normal conditions. Reduce caffeine. Develop or continue nightly bed time rituals and quit the device screens before bed. Read light-hearted books, stretch or watch a replay of a non-stimulating tv series. Practise breathing or progressive muscle relaxation or follow a guided relaxation on an app like Insight Timer.

Move

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It feels like you cannot achieve much indoors, but you can… Jump on YouTube and look for free fitness videos like Jane Fonda’s classic 80s workouts, Yoga with Adrienne, Cosmic Yoga with kids, or dance tutorials from the 80s, or genres like Hip Hop etc. In online community Facebook forums in your area you will find many people offering free live Zoom fitness sessions to join in with. Turn on your favourite upbeat music and dance, dance, dance. Wear your Fitbit or other fitness tracking device and try to make 10,000 steps indoors. Use bags of rice, bottles of water etc to make weights. Jump online with a friend and do some yoga together.

Breathe

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Breathing is essential for cultivating calm, by helping your body put the brakes on your fight or flight response. Take time when you sip a glass of water, or go to the bathroom, to consciously b-r-e-a-t-h-e in to the count of 4, hold to the count of 4, breathe out very slowly through the mouth to the count of 4, hold and repeat. 

You can also take a nice big inhalation and sigh that breath out. There, that’s a nice big hit of serotonin for you. Ahhhhh.

Another trick is to set your alarm (a relaxed and nice alarm) to go off every hour so you can get up, move and breathe. 

Come back to this moment and take a break from your thoughts. Trust me, thinking about the past, future or now is not helpful, just drop in to this moment with all of your senses. Take a deep breath, then: name 5 things you can SEE; 4 things you can FEEL; 3 things you can HEAR; 2 things you can  SMELL; and 1 thing you can TASTE. 

Hello present moment! It’s not so bad, here in your home, just in this moment….. is it?

 

Routine

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Isolation, school shutdowns and working from home are causing massive disruptions to our routines. Creating structure and routine in this moment is vital to helping you reduce anxiety and enhance a sense of meaning and normality.

Make a weekly calendar (find a free template online) and fill in all of your work meetings and obligations. Add in sleep and wake times, mealtimes and chores. Block out exercise time and time to wind down for bed. Slot in regular online socialising times and free time. Make a list of activities for free times such as painting, drawing, reading, courses, watching movies or series, self-care, DIY home spa, cooking, craft, journalling, etc

A schedule will also help you to eat, exercise and sleep regularly, hitting all the bases of good mental health.

Also, have a shower and get out of your pyjamas everyday, set up zones in your home for work, exercise, play, eating and socialising.

 

 

Empower

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Empower yourself to choose your response to this situation.

Remind yourself this situation is temporary.

Choose love and connection over fear and isolation. Remember you are connected to all of humanity in this crisis. You are not alone. Practise Loving-Kindness meditations to enhance your feelings of connection. 

Practise gratitude. Make a daily gratitude list – what 3 things are you grateful for everyday? 

What do you dislike about this situation? What do you see as opportunities in this situation? Make a list! 

Don’t deny your uncomfortable feelings. Let there be room for fear, frustration, anxiety, helplessness, anger, despair, sadness, disbelief, etc Let them arise, notice them, and practise a Mindful Self-compassion break

When you notice your awareness filled with unhelpful thoughts and what-ifs, say “STOP” to yourself and: Stop, Drop and Pause. Take deep breaths. Shift your attention to something else, or get up and get a glass of water. You will have unhelpful thoughts, but you do not need to get absorbed by them. Use your breath to calm your fight or flight response. 

Contain your own unhelpful thoughts by journalling once a day at the same time everyday. Keep a worry diary. Spend 30 timed minutes, vomiting all of your worries on to the paper at 1600-1630 (or a time NOT before bed or another stressful activity like work meetings) then go and do something nice like chat to a friend, have a bath or shower, stretch, breathe.

Choose some helpful self-talk to bring in to unhelpful thoughts, like “I can handle it,” “This will pass,” “I am safe,” or “Everything will be alright, this won’t be forever.”  Choose any phrase that helps you to feel calm and in control.

Reduce news intake to once or twice per day at designated times. Get news only from reliable sources such as the WHO or Catalan News.

Maintain a sense of fun and good humour. Watch funny movies, read funny memes, talk about light hearted things with friends and family and make time to be silly.

Cultivate positivity. Create. Draw. Cook. Dance. Move. Play. Put post-its around the house with funny sayings or uplifting quotes.

Organise fun activities for you to do alone, with your fellow lock-ins or your family – board games, jigsaws, balcony gardens, online dinner parties.

Definitely go and clap for the healthcare workers with your neighbours every night at 20:00.

Walk away from conflicts with family or housemates you may be cooped up with. 

Seek support by communicating your worries and fears.

Keep calm and do online therapy. Consider speaking to one of our therapists from Therapy in Barcelona if you feel you need professional support to help you process your anxieties at this time. We are offering online therapy to help.

Contact us today.

Everything will be alright and this will pass. We are all doing a great service to one another by staying in right now and we are in this together.

By Leigh Matthews Australian Registered Psychologist

Contact

Our service is by appointment only.
Calle de Paris 162-164, 3o, 1a Barcelona 08036
Opening Hours 0800am - 0900pm
Email: info@therapyinbarcelona.com
Whatsapp: +34 644 522 369

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Emergencies & Support

We are not a crisis service.
If you need immediate assistance, please go to your local hospital emergency department. The essential phone numbers in Barcelona, Spain are 061 (medical emergencies, multilingual) or 112 (emergency).
Samaritans in Spain offer emotional support from trained listeners in Spain (in english)FREE CALL 900 525 100 from 10am – 10pm 365 days a year or Whatsapp 63 432 5906

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