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How to keep life going

The Coronavirus pandemic has affected our lives in a way that our generation has never experienced before.

Not only do we have a massive health challenge for ourselves and our loved ones, we also face significant changes and threats to our livelihoods and ways of life. On top of all this, we each have an unprecedented information challenge, where we are surrounded by a situation that changes by the hour, with a wide range of sources of information changing their advice daily, and our anxiety further fuelled by a wide range of media sources and chatter.

This article gives several ways we can navigate this situation in a wise, compassionate and balanced way, so that we stay well informed and maintain our mental and physical health during these exceptional times, whilst continuing to live with the values we care about.

Check out the rest of the Life Squared website for more ideas on how to navigate the complexity of life so you can live in a happier, wiser and more meaningful way.

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How to keep life going

1. Play your part
We will all need to make changes to our lives to help the world overcome this crisis. Take a moment to understand what changes you need to make and to accept these in your life, rather than rationalising why you should carry on as normal. List what you think your priorities should be during this crisis and focus on these.

2. Stay well informed...
Select a small number of trusted sources of information to help you keep informed of developments and news, and to know what action to take. For example:

World Health Organisation - https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

NHS (UK) - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

3. …but avoid obsessing
Consider moderating the amount of news you consume if it is making you feel more anxious. Try to focus some of your time on creative, enjoyable and immersive activities, as well as on ways you can help out other people, as the latter can be a great way to give yourself a sense of purpose and focus.

4. Keep away from misinformation
Keep away from partisan or less informed sources of information, as these can spread anxiety and result in unhelpful behaviour, like stockpiling of toilet rolls or blaming particular groups of people for the crisis.

Think about the sources of information that you’re reading and consuming – this even includes what you hear from friends and other people in the street and what you read on social media.

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5. Don’t spread misinformation
We can all play our part in stopping misinformation - and unnecessary anxiety - from spreading during this crisis, by thinking about what we say.

A good recommendation from CNN in the US: “We need to think more carefully about what we share on social media. I get it. It's a free country. You can post whatever you like. But I should think at a time like this, good citizenship demands we do our best not to make things worse and to limit ourselves to content that derives from official, verified sources.

Better yet, we could avoid posting anything at all. Before tapping that "send" icon, let's ask ourselves three questions:

  1. Does this need to be shared?
  2. Must it be shared right now?
  3. Am I the best person to share it?

If you can't answer yes to all three, well, maybe it's time to just ... not.”

6. Look after yourself
If you are feeling worried or under strain, don’t be afraid to ask people for help. Even talking to someone and sharing your worries can help to lift the burden. Also, try to take any unnecessary pressure off yourself – identify the things that really matter and deal with these, but don’t castigate yourself for failing to keep less important things going.

7. Establish a routine
One way to help you adapt calmly to a new situation is to establish a new routine. This will give you purpose and some sense of normality, as well as enabling you to consider what things you need in your day to make it good, and how you can get them within the confines of the situation you find yourself in.  So, make a list of things you need in each day and allocate time for each. Then wake up with a sense of purpose to live well each day.

8. Get outside
Unless the medical advice tells you not to, and you can do it without getting too close to other people, it is important to get outside each day, both for your physical and mental health. So, explore nature, take a walk, breathe some fresh air and watch spring emerging. Seeing the beauty and continuing cycles of the natural world can provide a balm during stressful times. If you have children at home from school, make it part of the ‘home stay’ day routine to spend an hour outside.

9. Get some exercise
It’s important to keep moving and fit, and you can do this even if you have to spend the day indoors. Here are some ideas on how to exercise while at home – whether you just want to keep moving or want to have a full-on workout!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51933762  

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/mar/15/from-yoga-to-crossfit-the-10-best-online-home-workouts

10. Turn self-isolation into an opportunity
We spend most of our lives rushing about, trying to achieve more, buying stuff we don’t need – the list goes on. If you have some more time at home, why not use it to do something different?  Try a new hobby, read more books, call old friends, take time to reflect, start the novel you always meant to write.

11. Stay in touch
If you’re not able to get out as much as before, make sure you keep in touch with people by phone or online. Why not schedule in a call with one or two friends every day to help you maintain a social life? If you’re working from home or have stopped working during the crisis, why not keep up with work colleagues too? All of these forms of ongoing contact can give us reassurance, fun and fulfilment.

12. Socialise without meeting up
Many of us will be missing the experience of meeting new people and sharing ideas. Why not start up some online social activities to make this happen while you’re not going out? You could start a book discussion group that meets online at a fixed time each week to discuss an agreed book – or a music club that listens to songs and talks about them online.

And of course….Be kind
The final point. Living in line with our values can be one of the most important assets we have when we’re going through tough times. Don’t lose sight of your values – help others who need it. You can do this in many ways – be kind to others in your home, call people who might be alone, don’t buy more than you need from shops, volunteer or donate to help organisations and groups that are helping the community at this time. This not only helps you play a part in making the world better, but makes you feel good and give you a sense of fulfilment.

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Life Squared 2020

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