COVID-19 Survival Guide: How to keep Safe and Sane?

‘‘It is not the strongest nor the most intelligent that survive, but the one most adapted to change’’

Charles Darwin

Prevention of illness:

• Wash your hands – but not excessively! This must be reasonable, and not a ritual.
• Use elbow or tissue to close/open taps, and don’t share towels
• Sanitize your phone and other touchscreens! Don’t take them to your bedroom.
• Clean your keyboard and work surfaces regularly
• Sanitize door handles, light switches, any other buttons or shared-touch areas regularly
• Do not lounge around the house in the same PJs you’re sleeping, as you’re collecting potential dirt around the house and taking it back to bed, where you’re not consciously aware of touching your face, eyes, etc during sleep.
• Avoid physical contact and keep your distance when you are out of the house
• Minimise going out, shower and change your clothes when you are back from shopping
• Do not wear face masks, unless you are ill yourself, or visiting someone who is ill. Masks create a moist, warm area around your face – a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, and you can still get the virus through your eyes.

Building the immune system:

• Be in the fresh air as much as possible, ventilate your house very well, especially before bedtime
• Spend more time in the sun, especially on your face and eyes.
• Have a regular good night sleep, sleep is essential for our immune system
• Take Vitamin C, Zinc, and other natural remedies that build your immunity, such as elderberry, echinacea
• Exercise a few times a day – can be very small bursts of aerobic activity, such as 10 squat jumps, press-ups or 10 burpees every few hours.
• Rinse your nose and mouth with cold, salty water daily, and before visiting sick relatives
• Expose your body to extreme temperature for very short periods of time, such as having a very hot shower, sauna, ice room, or cold shower.
• Maintain a healthy, nutritious diet with intermittent fasting. Eat at regular times and avoid snacking throughout the day.

Maintaining your productivity when working from home

• Have regular work/rest time routine. And stick to it!
• Have designated place to work/study from
• Work in short bursts of intense focus, no more than 2 hours, with breaks in between
• Have a morning and evening routine and automatic rituals to follow
• Prepare resources for your work the night before
• Set small, daily goals, and identify ONE main thing that is the most important that day
• Maintain clear, daily communications and support channels with your team, such as daily conference calls, having accountability partnerships or buddies

Maintaining your Mental Health and Wellbeing

• Maintain supportive connections and relationships
• Minimise news intake, or don’t watch the news at all. Be aware that not everything you hear and see is true.
• Avoid long periods of boredom. Create small things to do and to look forward to
• Sign up to online yoga or meditation class, get in touch with your local clubs and activities to see what they offer remotely.
• Focus on what is in your control, and what you can do about it today
• Practice mindfulness and meditation. Use guided audio to get started.
• Learn something new! Choose something you will enjoy, and make time for it.
• Dedicate time for you and be selfish for at least an hour a day – put yourself first.
• Share your feelings and concerns with others, to maintain sense of belonging
• Reach out for help if you are struggling – it is a sign of strength, not weakness
• When negative thoughts creep in, ask: how I would like to feel instead? Create ‘time-travelling’ experiences in your mind when you revisit and recreate pleasant emotions
• Imagine the best-case scenario for the future, and ask – what is one small step that I can I take today, right now to make it more possible?

Managing your stress and anxiety

Practice the “Apple” technique to deal with anxiety and worries:

• Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.

• Pause: Don’t react as you normally do. Don’t react at all. Pause and breathe.

• Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are not true statements or facts.

• Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don’t have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.

• Explore: Explore the present moment, because right now, at this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Shift your breathing to the belly, and relax your shoulders. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention on what you need to do, engage in it mindfully, with full attention.

To help prepare for those anxious events and train your mind for resilience, practice regular Mindful Moments:
1) Pause whatever you’re doing, and take time to notice all that you can see around you in a wide, periphery vision
2) Observe all that you can hear, pay attention to all the sounds
3) Observe all that you sense – feet on the floor, body on the chair, clothes on your skin, air temperature, any smells, taste in your mouth, any other physical sensations
4) Observe your thoughts from the distance, allow them to come and go without engaging with it. As it pops into your head, label them – this is fear, this is memory, this is hope, this is planning…. And bring your attention back to the present moment.

In case of panic or anxiety attack, follow those steps:
1) Start breathing into your stomach, and relax your shoulders on every exhale
2) Count the length of your inhale/exhale – start with counting till 4 for both, then gradually increase your exhale, So you breath in for 4, exhale for 4, breath in for 4, exhale for 5, in for 4, out for 5, etc. until your exhale is twice as long as inhale (4-8).
3) While continuing 4-8 breathing, you can add Mindful Moments exercise above.

Useful contacts, support and information:

Latest worldwide statistics about Coronavirus by country
COVID-19 Symptom Tracker App
Government support for businesses
Comparison of best video conference apps to use
Online health and wellbeing classes, workshops and training in exchange for a donation
Learning and Entertainment activities to do with your kids
Apps to help you sleep better
Wellbeing podcasts to listen
Self-help podcasts

I hope you are well and find this resource useful! You can also download this guide in PDF format.

This is a challenging time for us all, but it can also be a great opportunity to review our priorities, realign our values, plan in advance, learn new skills.
It is not what happens to us that shapes our performance and wellbeing, but the way we respond to it. While we cannot control external events, our response to it is entirely in our hands. All we need is to be open to exploring new possibilities and be willing to evolve and grow in the face of challenges around us.

If you need a helping hand to build better emotional responses to the situation or want to explore practical solutions and opportunities for personal or professional improvement at this time, I am offering a limited amount of complimentary consultations for people who are currently self-isolating or working from home.

Book your free consultation today

best wishes,

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