Feeling overwhelmed by the new normal during the coronavirus outbreak? Dr Clinton Moore, Clinical Psychologist at Cadence Psychology, North Sydney, shares his thoughts on how isolation is affecting us and the easy technique we can all use to help support our mental health...
Article first published in May 2020.
Coping with self-isolation is something that will affect everyone differently depending on their circumstances.
For more introverted types, being forced to distance socially may actually not change their lives too much. Those people who are more extroverted may find themselves struggling with being cooped up and unable to connect with groups of friends and family members face-to-face.
On top of this, we have to factor in the impact of things such as job loss and financial stress. It’s a complicated situation.
One thing that is fairly universal at the moment though is a sense of loss. This could be anything from losing a job to losing personal space in your home now that everyone is there.
When confronted with this type of loss, it’s normal to respond with some form of grief. Even though we know this situation is temporary, this global loss of normalcy means we are in the strange position of coming together to grieve as a community and it’s common to feel some anxiety, sadness or anger.
Dealing with grief is always about acceptance. It’s a hard task, but you can start to move towards acceptance by trying to bring yourself into the present.
Techniques such as mindfulness can be a great way to work on this process and practice letting go of the things we can’t control at the moment.
A simple mindfulness exercise is to just stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and see if you can bring your attention to your breathing for six full breaths. There’s no need to sit cross legged and chant “Om” for hours; the key is to make being present something bite-sized that you come back to in little ways throughout the day. When you approach the current situation from this perspective it may still seem daunting, but you’ll be in the best position to tackle whatever arises.
One minute mindfulness
Five easy ways to find the present that take less than 60 seconds
Stretch and yawn for ten seconds once an hour.
Keep a gratitude journal and write one entry every day for something you feel grateful for.
Make your bed each morning, concentrating on each movement as you do so. As well as achieving something productive first thing, it will focus your mind on the day ahead.
Drink a glass of water - if you're dehydrated, you're more likely to feel tired and emotional.
Connect with nature. Focus on one thing outdoors for a few seconds, a flower or an insect for example, and concentrate on taking in the colours and movements.
Clinical Psychologist Dr Clinton Moore is the founder of Cadence Psychology - a North Sydney Clinical Psychology practice with a focus on helping people find their key to change. For more information head to the website www.cadencepsychology.com.au call 0478 876 678 or email firstname.lastname@example.org