A year on and we are still in the midst of a global pandemic – who could have imagined it but for a screenwriter?
While the vaccine is supposed to help, none of them yet provide 100% protection. So, we still need to do what we can to protect ourselves until the virus is eradicated completely.
We already know that underlying health conditions such as diabetes, inflammatory conditions, asthma, hay fever, auto-immune diseases can all make us more vulnerable. It is now understood that having a highly stressful lifestyle also makes us vulnerable to it. This stacks up as stress does impact our immune system.
So, time for some myth-busting insights to help protect you:
Stress and Type A
If you are a Type-A (extremely hard-working, driven, perfectionist, competitive) you may not acknowledge your levels of stress because it is simply not how you roll. This doesn’t mean that your mind-body is not stressed. It just means that your character will power-through. Until your body has had enough and this can lead to burn-out, breakdown or COVID. Remember that COVID can be asymptomatic. This means that even if you don’t have symptoms you can be carrying it and spreading it to people you care about. It is still a risk, even if it’s invisible. Even if you’re strong.
I’m Healthy so I’m OK
At the beginning, we thought that COVID didn’t happen to healthy people. But this is a myth: clearly some people who thought themselves healthy did get it. But we don’t know what we don’t know about ourselves: problems can incubate without our conscious awareness, sometimes for many years. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Nor does it mean that we have to worry ourselves. But it does mean we have to take care of ourselves.
Stress and Denial
I recently worked with a client who said they never got stressed but then listed all the things that kept him awake at night (it was quite a list) but didn’t acknowledge it was stress. This person did suffer a number of conditions which he said were worse when he was stressed. Yet he was 100% sure he didn’t get stressed. Denial is not the most helpful ally, is it? It’s important to start seeing things as they really are so you can do what you need to do to manage your levels of stress.
Ask yourself whether there are any symptoms you have which get worse when life isn’t going to plan. If the answer is yes, you need to work on it. Often this process is a lot easier working with an integrative coach because we can’t know what we don’t know and this is where my work can really help you.
Stressed and Know It
If you know are stressed, you are in a better position because recognising it is the first step to resolving it. The next step is getting to grips with whatever is happening for you. Only then can go on to take steps to deal with the stressor at the source. If you find yourself doing what I call “too-muching” as a way of coping: smoking, drinking, comfort eating, losing yourself in social media, gambling, etc it is a sign that stress is not being managed effectively and that new strategies need to be explored, otherwise the stressor, unaddressed, often gets out of hand.
Worry is a False Friend
I’m not a big fan of worrying. And especially not about COVID – it just adds unnecessary stress. Worry doesn’t protect you from anything, and certainly not a virus. You wouldn’t be doing anything different to protect yourself if you worried more, would you? It just adds to the dangerous cocktail of stress. Simply take care of yourself, enjoy yourself as much as you can in our current conditions, and follow the guidelines. And, if you find it impossible to let go of worrying, time to pick up the phone for some help .(s
Stress and the Media
The media is in a difficult position: they have to keep reporting on what’s going on in order that we are all aware of the dangers. At the same time, they increase fear and stress with the way they are reporting on the pandemic, using highly emotive language and imagery. And they also need viewers. So emotional reporting can keep us glued to our screens, fuelling stress. Awareness allows us to be mindful to take appropriate precautions but do limit your exposure to the media so it doesn’t tip you over into unhelpful levels of stress. Don’t make pandemic-stalking your number one pastime!
COVID: A Tipping Point?
It has been suggested that COVID exposes previous weaknesses in the body. This would then suggest that we have to take really good care of ourselves to not just get through this but to use this as a time to focus on radical self-care, creating positive balance, deal with the problems you have swept under the carpet (they impact your immune system because the stress is there whether you acknowledge it or not), and do what you can to make this experience work FOR you. Don’t let this be wasted.
Remember that you don’t have to go through this alone. If you need some support from someone who is expert at stress management and wellness, do give me a call for a no obligation chat.
In the meantime, at the beginning of the crisis I shared a few resources which can be found here. https://www.a-headforsuccess.co.uk/covid-19-support/. This includes a recording to calm your nerves and also what you can do to support your immune system (including some which are both fun and free).
And finally, remember, wash hands, cover face and make space.
Wishing you and yours abundant health
© Tricia Woolfrey
PS My Breakthrough Sessions are proving very popular. If you are interested in having a Breakthrough, take a look here.