The current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which began in December 2019, presents a significant challenge for the entire world. Like you, I have been privy to the barrage of news and social media about the virus and the effect it is having across the globe. As I write this, several cities and indeed countries are on lockdown. This outbreak is unlike anything we've experienced in our lifetimes before. All very anxiety-inducing and highly likely to affect mental health as well as physical health.
Besides the risk of you or someone you love contracting the virus, there are multiple stories of events being cancelled, jobs lost, flights grounded, holidays ruined, and insurance being void which is building a culture of fear and panic across the land. Not only may we lose our ability to breathe, but we may fail to make money alongside our civil liberties and freedoms being threatened. Terrifying times indeed, but all is not lost.
The UK Government says the response to COVID-19 should be tailored to the nature, scale and location of the threat. I agree and feel this can be massively blown out of proportion or diminished depending on the information you are receiving and the source you're acquiring it from. So, what do we know so far?
It seems to be commonly agreed that the following are things we know about the new strain of the Corona Virus:
It is now classed as a global pandemic.
Although it's not air bourne, it's spreading rapidly.
It's possible to be infectious when you have no symptoms.
The risk of death once the virus is contracted is relatively low.
People are panic buying loo roll?!
Everyone is freaking out about this!
In my humble opinion, we need one HUGE reframe right now!
What are the other ways we can look at this?
Global re-set. Helping people re-evaluate what is truly important to them, mainly health and the people they love. Serving the Earth. With suspended ground travel and flights restricted, people can actually hear the birds in cities, carbon emissions are reduced, and we can allow the Earth to breathe and the world to slow down somewhat.
Building community. I have seen beautiful videos of people in Italy singing together across balconies and playing music into the streets to keep up moral. There are stories of communities coming together to support those less able to go and get supplies or sharing phone numbers, so those in need have someone to call and are not alone. Let's use this pandemic to bring us closer together.
Levelling the playing field. A pandemic like this levels us all, anyone can get sick, even celebrities and politicians. Money means nothing if you don't have your health! We're all human, and this shows us how much more alike we are than focusing on our differences. Hopefully, it will help build more love, compassion and understanding globally as we truly start to understand why people flee war-torn areas or other crises.
Release control. We can not control what is happening in our outside world, only what is happening in our inner world. This is an opportunity to practice letting go of fear and control, building our inner peace and come back to the one thing we can regulate... our inner presence.
Spare time. As the world begins to slow down, you may notice you have more time (especially if you're used to commuting 2/3 hours a day). Use any spare time you may have for new and inspiring projects. Maybe there is a hobby you wanted to learn or online course you wanted to take, this could be the perfect time for that.
What can we do outside of the airy-fairy spiritual extravagance and reframing.
You may be thinking, great thanks Rachael, but what can we do outside of the airy-fairy spiritual extravagance and reframing - there's a real pandemic happening, you know?
I'm glad you asked!
Welford Wellbeing continuously comes back to three things.
Self-Awareness and Truth
Compassion & Kindness
Bravery and Choice
How can we apply these values to the COVID 19 situation?
Self-awareness and truth.
Do not panic and keep some perspective. Educate yourself from sources you trust, try to avoid feeding your mind with endless fear peddling clickbait. Coronaviruses have been around for a long time. Some strains cause the common cold (which we wouldn't all panic about); others which are more severe cause diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), both of which can lead to pneumonia. COVID-19 is the illness seen in people infected with a new strain of coronavirus not previously seen in humans (which explains the rapid spread as there is a lack of immunity in the population). Early data shows that a majority of people who contract the COVID-19 strain will have mild to moderate symptoms which match that of the flu. The majority of people with COVID-19 have recovered without the need for any specific treatment.
Use this as a time to build your immune system. I am not a doctor, and I'm not advising you do this, but here are some things I am doing to help my immune system. Exercising regularly, taking supplements such as B12, D3, Vitamin C, Iron, Zinc and probiotics. Making a raw juice each morning of strained celery (taken on an empty stomach) and a second of lemon, ginger and turmeric with added psyllium husk to support my gut. Getting plenty of sleep. Practising meditation and using EFT tapping for fear and anxiety.
Be mindful of your mental health. Don't allow the fear and anxiety to take you down. When we're in fight or flight, it limits our ability to think clearly and releases stress hormones which can be harmful over time. Keep your eyes peeled for a new tapping video coming shortly on tapping on the fear.
Build your own list of affirmations to help program your mind and body to be healthy. Replace sentences like, "What if I get the virus, that'd be just my luck." and "I hope I don't get sick." with "I am strong and healthy.", "I trust my immune system to fight off any virus with ease and grace".
Be aware of symptoms: Based on current evidence, the main symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough, high temperature and, in severe cases, shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms follow the guidelines to self-isolate, report and get medical assistance if needed. Be truthful, don't allow shame and fear to keep you hidden if you need help.
Compassion & Kindness
Wash your hands. Use soap and water where possible, as it is proven to be more effective than hand sanitiser.
If you have symptoms, you should self-isolate for 7 days but if you are not getting better, then seek medical attention by calling NHS111
If you know someone who is sick, release judgement and avoid negative thinking about them.
If you are healthy, can you offer assistance to your local community, help the elderly or those less able to get supplies?
Yes, it is wise to stock up on a few cupboard essentials in these times but be mindful of how much you actually need. Do you need 6 months supply of loo roll? Probably not.
Be kind to yourself. Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as smoking, alcohol or other drugs to deal with uncomfortable emotions. If you feel overwhelmed, try talking to a friend, family member or therapist. I recommend having a plan in place of where to go to and how to seek help for physical and mental health needs if required.
Bravery and Choice
Do your bit to help prevent the spread. If you can choose to work from home, why not do that. If you can avoid busy public spaces, that's probably a good idea. If you can keep a 1m distance when out in public places, this could also be useful.
Don't believe everything you think. Be brave and creative with your thinking. What solutions can you come up with that could help you and your community?
Choose not to share fear-mongering clickbait articles and memes which make light of the situation. Yes, humour can help in these testing times, but let's try to be kind about each other in the process.
Choose kindness over fear. Remember, this will also pass.
Choose to stay positive.
What is Welford Wellbeing doing to help?
As a business, we are doing what we can to help prevent the spread of this outbreak. As you all know, you are the most important people in our world and your health and wellbeing is of utmost importance.
Based on the advice of the World Health Organisation and the UK government guidelines, we are putting the following measures in place. I realise some of these measures may seem unreasonable to us young, healthy people with robust immune systems still, we have a responsibility to our extended communities who may be more at risk.
All 121 therapy sessions will now be held via video conferencing until further notice.
We are in touch with our contacts in Morocco and following all necessary protocols. As it stands both the May and October retreats are currently going ahead as planned, we will update all retreat attendees with any changes to this.
All UK events which we control, where we can not guarantee a 1m distance between people will be postponed until further notice.
If you're attending an event which isn't postponed; we ask that if you have a temperature, a mild cough or any other symptoms to please stay at home. Additionally, if you have no symptoms but have visited any affected areas, been in contact with anyone you think may have been affected, or believe yourself to be a risk for any other reason, please don't attend the event.
When attending a un-postponed event, please follow the protocol of washing your hands for at least 20 seconds on arrival, avoid physical contact with other attendees and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and practice respiratory hygiene.
I'm going to be creating some free online resources such as tapping videos and affirmations to support you and your health in these testing times. Keep your eyes peeled for them.
We're looking at new ways we can hang out virtually to fill the gap in postponed events, so we can all still connect in new and exciting ways. Social distancing doesn't have to mean isolation and loneliness. We'll always get to hang, I promise.
I get that there is a lot of fear, anxiety and panic out there right now, but as always the best we can do is focus on healing our inner world so that the chaos of the outer world affects us less. If we all take precautions now, we can save lives and prevent the outbreak from being worse than it needs to be. In true Britsh nature, we can keep calm and carry on, just in slightly different ways than we have been used to.