There’s a thin line between bravery and stupidity and those of us who are saying they’re just going to ignore advice to self-isolate or socially distance and get on with their lives may be surprised to know that they’ve crossed it to the wrong side!
COVID-19 is a pretty low risk disease to the vast majority of individuals, leading to mild to severe flu-like illness which can be easily coped with at home, but it is extremely contagious and it’s believed to be contagious for around five days BEFORE you have any symptoms. And for the unlucky few who are elderly and/or have that famous phrase, ‘underlying health conditions’ and for the even more unlucky who go into hospital for some other reason and pick up the virus there, it’s very, very dangerous.
So those who feel fine and think they can ‘just get on with their lives’ are potentially putting many, many other people at serious risk by doing so.
On top of that our NHS is broken. There’s not a country in the world that can really cope well with an exponential rise in cases leading inevitably to an exponential rise in serious cases, and frankly the way the NHS has been run down over the years means that we’re a very, very long way from being able to cope.
There’s a good article here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51915302 that explains about ‘mitigation’, the attempt to slow the spread (because we can’t stop it) of the COVID-19 virus to allow the NHS to put some coping measures in place.
If you want to be brave and mildly reckless, stop panic buying and start volunteering to help the vulnerable in your community – unless, like me, you are one of the vulnerable, in which case do the NHS a favour and sit tight at home. This too shall pass! There are many groups springing up to help, to mitigate the many morons out there panic buying and being completely selfish and charging £5 for a loo roll on Facebook. I mean seriously – we can all actually live without loo roll – and I won’t gross you out or insult your intelligence by suggesting ways to do so!
Self-isolating, and even social distancing, can have significant effects on mental health. Before this whole thing blew up, isolation in the elderly population was a serious problem here in the UK – and it still is. Here are a few things that I personally think can help – I’m sure there are many, many others!
- Stay in touch with friends and family through SKYPE, Facetime, Facebook Messenger or anything else that is face-to-face rather than phone, text or email. I think that gives you more of a sense of contact.
- Focus on doing things you enjoy – my mum’s just gone and and bought a big pile of puzzle books, and she also has many other hobbies to keep her busy, as do I. The more hobbies the better. If you don’t have hobbies (and I know some people don’t, although I find this hard to comprehend) watch things on YouTube, or educate yourself with lectures or do virtual tours of museums. Here’s just one of many lists of virtual museums to tour. Or how about helping with scientific research through Zooniverse or similar things.
- Keep exercising – here in the UK as far as I understand it, the rather nebulous advice says it’s fine to go out and exercise – just keep 2 meters from other people. If you can’t/don’t want to walk, there are many online exercise routines. I use this warm-up on the NHS https://www.nhs.uk/video/pages/basic-warm-up.aspx and then play Wii table-tennis with jogging in between points.
- Re-frame – yes, this is probably going to be an economic disaster, but it’s also an opportunity to educate yourself for free online, spend more time with your partner (which I realise for some could be more of a strain than a bonus!), chill out and relax. And hey, there won’t be much around to spend that money that isn’t coming in on, so provided we can pay our bills …
My heart goes out to everyone struggling to cope, and I do realise that those who are already suffering with mental health problems will not find these tips terribly useful, but for those who are just concerned about the future, perhaps they will help a bit!