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In a time of crisis, let's take care.

Posted by Claudia Tormey on March 13, 2020 at 06:11 PM

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Things are looking very uncertain right now.

COVID-19 seems to be taking over everything; the news, email inboxes, social media, and conversations around the dinner table. It's overwhelming.

I'm sure you have multiple emails coming at you with precautionary information on how to take care and avoid risks. This is a post on how to take care, but not purely because of COVID-19. Because taking care should be considered important all of the time.

The reality is, life is always uncertain. We never know what tomorrow will bring, and we cannot control that. But what we can do is take care of ourselves and look out for each other.

Here's some suggestions on how to stay healthy and strong, during times of increased uncertainty.

Breathe.

This might seem obvious but this is a really scary time for some of us and depending on your vulnerability it may be difficult to not worry. Doing simple things like focusing on your breath can be helpful. Take notice of how you are responding to the situation. Meditation is great way of de-stressing and and clearing your mind of worry. I came across this Youtube channel with lots of meditation videos, even some for kids!

Go outside.

Give yourself a break from the twitter-feed and radio. Leave your phone at home and go for a walk or simply step outside. Just because we've been advised to self-isolate, it does not mean we all have to stay indoors (unless you are in a very vulnerable position). Get some fresh air, take note of the bird's song, the warm sun and the smell of spring flowers. It's good for you!

Pick up that book.

If you're like me, you probably have about 7 books that you've been making excuses about not reading. Now is a great time to sit and read. If you're part of a book club, or if you feel like starting a book club - you can still connect with others and have conversations over the phone or online.

Move your body.

I had to cancel all of my physical activity for the coming weeks - so I'm going to adapt and do what I can from home. Why not move your yoga practice into your living room or turn your kitchen into a dance-floor! Much or all of this can also be done outside.

Make bread.

Whether or not there's any bread left on your supermarket shelves, making bread is 100% more fun, tasty and satisfying. Here's an easy recipe I'm going to try this weekend.

Reach out.

You may be working from home and you might be living alone. Many of your friends and family could be in similar situations. Call them to say hi, check in and see if they are ok. Ask them if they've had fresh air today, remind them to take care of themselves. If there's something you need, ask for it.

Think about those who are most at risk, vulnerable people who may be living alone. If you are in a position to help others, please do. There are communities coming together on social media to support each other using the hashtag #SelfIsolationHelp - from paying bills to picking up groceries. Let's focus on the positive and remind ourselves that people are kind and loving.

These are the essentials.

These are not just 'nice things to do'. Self-care and community-care are vital for maintaining physical and mental well-being, and for building resilience.

Friends of the Earth wants to connect people, to not only build power for the movement, but to build a strong community. Because in times of uncertainty we need each other. We may have many unforeseen challenges and uncertain times ahead.

Joanna Macy, who I love, developed a body of work called The Work That Reconnects. Last year, many of you read the book 'Active Hope' with us as part of our book-club or joined our webinar with co-author Chris Johnstone. Joanna developed this work not only to help us deal with despair and grief, but also to give us tools for resilience and emotional intelligence so that in times of crisis we look out for each other.

We are already seeing people panic. The first thing many people did yesterday was hit the supermarkets and fleece the shelves. We have to be considerate of others. We can self isolate and meet our own needs while also being mindful of others, particularly the most vulnerable members of our communities.

Let's connect, and move forward.

Next Wednesday 18th March, the One Future Campaign, which we helped launch this year, will be hosting a webinar 'Building Community in a Disrupted World' to explore how to build community around climate action, maintain political pressure and consider compassion and care for those most affected by COVID-19 in a time of social distancing. You can register at this link to join.

Follow this link for updated guidelines from the HSE on how to stay safe, and click here to read more on how to look after your metal health amid COVID-19.

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