What if the danger outside, is suddenly inside your own house? Here are some Mental health tips for Care givers during lockdown, social isolation and quarantine.
Even since Lockdown conditions started in our country in March 2020, so many of us went into a complete “frenzy”. Rushing to the shops, buying food for a few months, until some places even ran out of Toilet paper.
Now the new year has started, 10 months later and the second wave hit South Africa. For some people, this might mean that their own family members may have been infected.
How do you as a Care-giver cope, where the danger outside, is now inside your own home?
Here are some ideas that can help you stay calm, and come out well on the other side.
1. Decide who is in your inner circle who you will listen to
Decide whose opinions you trust and ask them for advice, and have a reliable doctor you can call . Family members might expect you to follow their remedies, you may go quite insane becoming the “superhuman care-giver” that they expect you to be. You do the best that is possible, you don’t need to report to anyone.
2. Communicate well on your terms
- What could help is creating a WhatsApp Broadcast list, where you can simply give updates to everyone on a daily basis, and they can respond directly to you. Which means that it’s not a group spamming situation as you often get on WhatsApp.
3. Do the general isolation things well
- Make sure that the rooms are well ventilated, open windows and sleep-in separate rooms from those that are affected, and also eat separately.
- Have enough “back-up medication” in your home and make sure that you also take your own Vitamin’s, energy boosters and Zinc.
4. How to take care of your own mental health
- Put on calm music for yourself. Create a “happy music” playlist for yourself and allow the music to enhance your mood. Music is one of the great “state breakers” that will allow you to feel better when you get triggered.
- It is the most important to look after you and others mental health in your own home. Create a safe space, where everyone feels safe. Keep calm and just do your best, you’ve got this.
- Make a list of things that you’ve always enjoyed and see which of those things you can do at home.
- Stay away from Social media as much as you can. By comparing everyone else’s breaks, hikes and amazing New year celebrations might get you down.
- Focus on things that are in your own control:
- Plan healthy meals
- Make some interesting new recipes and food that will also enhance your own mood.
- Drink lots of water, have a bottle of water handy and refill it many times throughout the day.
- When you feel triggered anyhow, or have negative thoughts creeping in, interrupt them immediately. And reframe them.
How does reframing work? Take the negative sentence:
“I’m feeling lonely”, and turn it into the positive and put the word “not’ in-front of it.
For instance” “I’m Not feeling so social right now”. Which means that you are giving your brain the indication of the positive, versus the negative. You are not lying to yourself, you are simply “reframing “ it, which changes the energy of the entire sentence. In the Podcast interview with Leanne Hughes, we discussed reframing. Here is the YouTube version as well.
In one of my favourite books, “The Artist’s way” by Julia Cameron, she recommends Morning Pages. This technique is where you write at least 3 to 4 A5 or A4 pages full in long-hand. Do this the first thing during the day.
This will allow you to dump your thoughts and reactions on paper, and allow you to get it out of your head.
How the unconscious mind works, is we can only consciously cope with 5-9 things in our mind. If you are trying to hold unto things that you need to remember, it doesn’t allow you to be creative, or do anything else, because you are “stuck” in remembering those things.
Release it unto paper. You can then always go back to it, and see what is the truth and what isn’t.
No one else gets to read your Morning pages. And ones its out, it allows your mind to start being creative. What I find inspiring is how many Screen writers, Doctors, lawyers and artists have used Morning pages to become creative, to deal with past hurts and to heal.
6. Step out of victim and rescue mode. Be the dolphin
Last year, I spoke at two Astute women events on “Putting a lid on Toxic relationships”.
We may think that it’s a bit extreme, but when I look around me, I notice all the time how often I engage in the three roles. As Caregiver you want to be the dolphin.
- You want to support the ill, you want to provide a safe space, you want to ensure that they are safe and healthy, but you also need to look after yourself.
- That is why it’s so important that you stay isolated as long as you need to be isolated.
- That you wear your mask when in the same space as the ill.
- That you take all necessary precautions, to also take care of you.
- But also, to not fall into victim or shark mode, creating a space where the ill doesn’t emotionally feel safe with you.
- Have healthy boundaries but still have a caring and kind heart, that creates a loving space for those around you and for yourself.
7. From now on
I don’t know why, but Hugh Jackman always brings me to tears. I’m slightly obsessed with back-stage, behind the scenes the things that happens before a movie, that no one knows about. For about 5 years, he was working with a group of people on writing the music for the movie and pitching this to producers.
It took about 8 months to get everyone together, so they could act the scenes out and sing the music, to get it “green lit”. And then Hugh had to get cancer cut out of his nose the day before this event, and couldn’t sing. See the short 5 minute clip, of “From now on” with Hugh Jackman coming alife and see the excitement with all the musicians. This may have been the number that gave them the go-ahead. I hope this song inspires you, and uplifts your mood.
Here is the video clip from Fox Family Entertainment’s Youtube Channel:
What will you do differently, from now on?
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