By Isabella @TheWandCarver
It’s like all the bad bits from history assailed us all at one go. Kind of like The Plague, 1918 Flu, and both Wars I and II hit at once. We are now facing several dangerous enemies – Covid-19, the normal flu season, no toilet roll in supermarkets, wars going on in other countries we have now all but forgotten, and a whacking big recession coming. Oh, I should have thrown in the Great Depression up there just for some more bang. Not that we need more bang.
Here is the thing… some people are now thinking they are ill when they aren’t. We have had to fight the queues for the basic necessities for life as we know it. If you have food for a week now, you might be rationing it just to make it stretch further because no one knows what the shops will be like in a week’s time or even if we will be allowed to go to them. I can certainly understand the feeling we must hoard what we can but in truth, if we did not, everybody could have what they need, not just the privileged few who decided it was alright to buy up every last roll on the shelf. But I digress. This is not what I mean to write about today.
Although food and toilet roll are precious commodities, so is our mental health. Some of us have been self-isolating for a few days or longer. Mainly those of us over 60 or 70 years of age or anybody with underlying health conditions. Personally, I do not mind for I have almost always been a very solitary soul. As long as I have a cat, I’m alright. But most of you are very social creatures and self-isolation could have you climbing walls already.
Then, of course, there is the never-ending news which never sounds very much more hopeful day after day. This one is the real bug-a-bear. Watching Sky or the Beeb or whatever news outlet you watch where you live will drag you further down the self-isolation rabbit hole. And, also reading your Google news feed. All I can say is – stop.
My son, who is 25, came to Dr Mum [Me, of course] last night saying he felt he should go to hospital. Why? I asked him.
“I have a dry cough”
Me: “Everyone in this house has a dry cough. We always have dry coughs”
J: “I am having trouble breathing”
Me: “Use the nebuliser”
J: “I’m worried it isn’t my asthma”
Me: “What are your other symptoms?”
J: “I think my blood pressure is high”
Me: “I think you are having a mild anxiety attack”
Me: “I’ll take your blood pressure”
Yes, it was high. So, I steeped up a good cup of Hawthorn tea for him and told him to drink it down, come back in half an hour and I would retake his BP. Sure enough, his BP had gone down more than 20 points and he was actually in very good spirits… this is partially why I had him drink the Hawthorn tea… it is very much more calming than Chamomile and it does a world of good for high blood pressure and anything heart related. He has been fine since.
J’s problem is, he watches too much news. I knew this. I get to feeling quite ill myself if I watch too much news. As you are self-isolating or quarantined, do not make the mistake of watching news all day or reading news articles. Please, for the sake of your sanity, stop! You must already know the basics that we have hopefully been practising for at least a couple of weeks and that is 1] handwashing, 2] not touching your face 3] coughing/sneezing into the crook of your arm if a tissue is not available 4] social distancing, keeping at least 1 metre [3 feet] apart from others in public, and 5] using hand sanitiser when you can’t wash your hands and to wipe down the supermarket trolly push bar. If you know and adhere to the basics, and self-isolate, you have a very, very good chance of getting through this. The bad news is, it can and will take a huge toll on your mental health – if you let it.
Many of you are already aware of how the subconscious mind works and how whatever self-talk or outside bad influences you have fed it, is probably exactly what you are going to get in return.
Why feed it a steady diet of disease, death, destruction, and fear? Unless those are things you aspire to then I think it best to leave them off. It’s fluffy bunnies time! Yes, fluffy bunnies. It was a term my youngest daughter used when she wanted to be comforted. And, by the time the fluffy bunnies arrived, she was no longer scared. It’s a bit too much of a story to tell here but it worked. We have to find our own fluffy bunnies as adults.
Here are a few ideas, but of course, some of these are things which comfort me; some are ideas I thought of as I wrote. You can make a list of what you prefer for yourself… or, you are welcome to my fluffy bunnies 😊
Read a book from the past! Which books have you read that gave you a good case of the feel happy’s? Maybe it was a book from childhood… maybe something from in school or maybe even a book you have read to your child. But if it makes you feel good, read it!
Join an ancestry website. I’m currently working on two – Ancestry.co.uk [free but pay to get more out of it] and on Wikitree.com [100% free]. Both are excellent and I’m really loving WikiTree at the moment because everyone contributes to one large tree from all over the world. And, you can even find out how many degrees of separation you are from someone famous. Best of all, after you have grown your part of the tree a bit you can also find out if you are related to a former Prime Minister, a former US President, a person who went to the American British Colonies on the Mayflower, as well as the signers of the Magna Carta! I am a 10th cousin of Prime Minister Winston Churchill and there are 20 degrees of separation from King Henry VIII and myself…. That and £5 might get me a good latte 😊 The point is, it is fun and it gets you off the news. Not to mention, you can make friends and learn more about your family’s past.
Exercise. I can’t run, never could. So, I won’t be out taking a morning run. But I can go onto YouTube and find yoga, calisthenics, Pilates, and a plethora of other forms of exercise. And, there are forms of all the exercises which can be done on a level for children, beginners, pros, even for Seniors. One springs to mind for children [which can be also joined in by the whole family] is Joe Wicks’ “PE with Joe”. Joe has informed the media that from Mondays through Fridays he will be holding live PE sessions for children being kept home by new isolation restrictions on his YouTube channel. Of course, Mum and Dad are welcome to join in! The best part is exercise helps to build your immunity.
Take up a new hobby. I read the other day where actor Idris Elba [Luther] had begun teaching himself the guitar whilst in isolation. His wife says he is doing pretty well at playing, despite never having learnt anything about it before. Although Idris has Covid-19, he is doing the best he can in isolation mode not to allow himself to sit and stew on the problem and this frees his mind to help him to get well. Maybe you don’t have a guitar but there is something you can try… you never know, it might be something you can sell, and it becomes a new opportunity!
Sing. Oh, don’t worry… I can’t sing, either, but it releases feel-good endorphins, so let’s do it!
Garden. No, Boris won’t have you arrested for going into your back garden and planting a few seeds. Herbs are always fabulously helpful things to grow. Or, next time you cut open a pepper, save the seeds and plant them. Or plant a garlic. You would be surprised how many things you can grow from the produce you bring into your home.
Start a YouTube channel. Perhaps you can journal what you do every day to stay sane whilst in isolation… or do make-up tutorials… or read to children … teach…. it’s up to you! If you can keep it bright and cheerful, helpful to others, it is just what to do!
Turn off notifications on your computer. Yes, you can. Go to your Notifications [lower right-hand corner of your screen], click on the gear icon, go to its settings and turn off notifications. Now, DailyMail will leave me be with all the bad news flashes which I really can’t deal with whilst working online!
Use Skype to have parties. It’s not recommended to be drinking or smoking spliff during all the Covid-19 going on, however, if you’re used to hanging out with your mates on the weekend and having a few drinks you can’t do it in person now. But most people have Skype and if so, why not dial into each other, face to face, and knock back a few, and have a laugh. It’s better than nothing and much safer than pubs… which won’t be open anyway.
Make a mood board. Surely you have some travel brochures, magazines, pics on your phone of things you would love to buy or whatever it is that stirs you. So, using what you have… a large piece of cardboard or perhaps even the white back side of holiday wrapping paper taped to a wall; cut out and tape up on your board places you want to go or things you want to buy once the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
Meditate. If you have never tried to meditate this is a good time to start. I will admit, I am no Maharishi Mahesh Yogi but after some practise, I can clear my mind longer than I once could. It is definitely a practised act, meditation is. No one is perfect at it from the first go. Focus your mind on the quiet. You can do this even if there is noise going on. A few times in the past I have tried to focus on the quiet moment between raindrops. I need much more practise to get to that lofty stage in my development! The trick is to focus on silence but when you do have a though, recognise it then let it go and go back to focussing on silence itself. Eventually you will have less thoughts bothering you as you meditate. [listen to either Eckhart Tolle or Deepak Chopra on YouTube for help in learning how to clear your mind of the endless “noise” it produces]
Self-teach. Pick a subject you have always wanted to learn… or even one from in school which you wanted to learn but found it too problematic to bother with [probably because, like me, there were more fun things to be done than my maths!] You can lean a new language… or Algebra, or History… whatever you choose. Just have a look round YouTube, I’m sure you’ll find loads of tutorials. My son recently built himself a gaming PC. He never had never done this before, and he had never had any kind of class for it. He decided it was what he wanted to do so, with a lot of help from YouTube and his own natural ability to make things work, he now has a top of the line gaming PC… which only cost him about 200.00 in parts! The same equivalent from a computer shop could have easily cost more like 1500.00. All self-taught!
Ring up family and friends often. Especially the elderly ones. Let them know you are thinking of them. Listen to them. Don’t do all the talking. They need you. And you need them.
Sit in the sun. For at least, and probably not more than 15 minutes every day when you see sunshine outside, go out and sit. Best source of vitamin D and it will elevate your mood exponentially. Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system.
Pray to the Universe. Even we witches pray. Our deity may not be the same as yours, but then, with all the religions in this world, it doesn’t matter. If you aren’t particularly religious or don’t believe, pray to the Universe. If we seek out the Universe for attracting what we want, why should we not be thankful to the Universe as well? And, don’t blame the Universe for what is happening in the world; it is not the Universe’s fault. It is what we as human beings have brought forth. Not pointing a finger at anybody for I know what I have done to bring about Climate Change and other assorted calamities and I accept it. But it is the catalyst for change within us. So, no matter if you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Wiccan, or whatever religion, pray to the Universe as well. Thank the Universe for the lessons we are learning, although harsh. Thank the Universe for the love It has for us and thank the Universe for the blessings. Don’t ask for anything, just be grateful… you will come away feeling refreshed. It may not sound like it, but it is a fluffy bunny moment! And, being in tune with the Universe is very beneficial to body, mind, and spirit.
So, there are my fifteen fluffy bunnies for you. Of course, I don’t do them all, but I do many of them and it helps ever so much! And do notice I did not mention binge-watching programmes on Netflix or board games once! There is only so much of either that anybody can handle. I wish everyone the very best and do keep safe. We will get through this and whilst apart, we will still get through this together. Many thanks for reading and warmest blessing upon those whom this way wander x