Finding A Way Through - Some Thoughts From Our Helpline
Hello! It goes without saying that these are really difficult and disruptive times. This is not what we are used to, it’s a time of fear and uncertainty and a hotbed for anxiety – it’s okay if you don’t feel okay.
It’s also okay if you’ve not transformed into a yogi and banana bread enthusiast (it’s also okay if you have, magic!) and it’s completely normal to have good days and bad days and really truly terrible, dark days.
Remember, you are not alone.
Lots of calls to our helpline (which is still open 6pm – midnight every night on 08088 01 03 02) recently have talked about the impact of Covid-19 partly because right now looking after ourselves is a lot more challenging.
This situation is bringing up feelings of being trapped and of being out of our control, and many of the coping strategies we rely on are out the window. Home might not necessarily be or feel like a safe place for you.
If all of this is bringing stuff up for you, is triggering or disorientating please know that is completely normal. For most of us this is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before, so we don’t know how we are going to react. There is no right or wrong way, we just have to try and find *a way* through.
Be kind to yourself
Give yourself permission not to be hyper-productive or your best self. None of this is straightforward so it’s fine if you are feeling worse than last week or the week before. If you can’t give yourself a break during a global pandemic and national crisis, when can you?
Connection is super important right now so many of us are spending time on social media – which can be great but do keep in mind as you are scrolling through sourdough that by and large people are not posting the hard moments or the darker days. Don’t mistake having an internet connection for social connection, sometimes social media can actually make us feel lonelier. Reach out and check in with your people through Facetime and/or text.
Find a routine of sorts
The temptation to crawl from your bed to your sofa and spend all day there in pyjamas is REAL and let’s face it sometimes even just getting out of bed feels like an achievement.
Some days this is fine, but lots of people find it helpful to keep up some kind of routine, even little things like getting up, making the bed and getting dressed (into comfortable clothes, obviously). Open your window and get some fresh air. Lots of people don’t have the luxury of having a home office or space to be able to separate work/home. Try and make the most of any space that you do have and try and create some sort of marker if you are working to signify and the end of the day, even switching your work devices off and putting them away or going for your daily exercise.
If you have children or are a carer then pressure on your time is likely to be even more intense and getting a moment to yourself might be even more challenging. Even carving out five minutes to just breathe can help take the edge off intense anxiety. You can try breathing in sync with this gif for a few minutes and see if you find it calming.
Distraction and mental health
Tempting as it is to watch every single Political briefing it won’t mean that you have, or that you feel, any more in control. Lots of advice is telling people to limit news intake to once a day – but it might also be helpful to save a list of distraction techniques and ideas to help you focus on other things.
Our website has lots more on this and the Survivor Network has developed a helpful list of distraction and soothing techniques, self-care tips, links to exercise classes, resources for keeping kids entertained and learning, and more. Some of the links are local to England, but there’s a lot in here that applies wherever you are.
Your mental health matters and you are not alone. Mind (the mental health charity) have also come up with some useful resources around supporting your mental health more generally at this time, you can find these here.
Rape Crisis Centres across Scotland are still open, and many are still taking new referrals.
We are still here, (6pm – midnight on 08088 01 03 02 - you can save it in your phone under a name so it’s handy if you like) and we still want to talk to you.
We know that often people worry about taking up our time or being an inconvenience, but we promise nothing could be further from the truth. This is why we are here. We want you to call. We don’t want anyone to go through this alone.
You don’t have to be in crisis to pick up the phone or email (firstname.lastname@example.org), you don’t have to know exactly what you want to talk about. We can just start by talking about how you are doing.
We don’t know how long this is going to last, or what these months will look like. All we know is that for as long as it does, and beyond, we’ll be right here with you.