My dears. I hope you are all coping okay. I know these are difficult times and things are changing daily. Sometimes it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but with support and positivity we will get there.
I admit I have spent most of the last few weeks drinking too much Dom, watching as many theatre shows as I can online, and listening to some ridiculous musicals to make myself feel better (Stephen Ward and Moby Dick are marvellous ones to make you realise things can never get that bad again).
So, on to the matter at hand. I am not trained in mental health, but would love to share some words of wisdom I have learned over the past few weeks. I have also consulted with colleagues who work in this field. I cannot say my advice will work for everyone, but they are my own coping strategies, and I hope they help.
Firstly, I think it essential that we handle self-isolation one day at a time. It can be very intimidating thinking that we are going to be home for the next few weeks, so try to avoid thinking of it as a huge mountain we have to climb. Instead, set yourself daily tasks and be kind to yourself. There are lots of commendable people being hugely productive, but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same. If you want to stay in bed, stay in bed. If you want to watch Netflix all day, do it. And if you want to perform some comedy YouTube clips, then go for it. We all handle things differently, and quarantine is definitely one we weren’t prepared for. It is vital we don’t compare ourselves to others.
If you can, create a little timetable every day. Nothing too rigid, but if you have a few hours of organised activities in the morning, and a few in the afternoon, it will help. Not having a routine throws us – we are creatures of habit, and this is why actors struggle when out of work.
It is easy to feel lost when we don’t have a reason to get up in the morning, so try to give yourself a reason. Even if it is to call friends, watch This Morning or to do an online yoga class. Indeed, exercise is essential – try to get out of your house once a day and exercise in nature (observing social distancing, of course). It is incredibly calming.
Accept that things are out of your control. In our current climate, there will be situations you have no power over. If you can’t get to your storage unit or are finding it impossible getting through to Universal Credit, just accept that some things aren’t operating as normal. It’s out of your control and getting frustrated won’t help, so just let it go (sorry to bring up Frozen, dears).
And, finally, try to appreciate the time. Read the books you’ve always wanted to read, watch those movies, catch up with all your old friends. And try to be grateful for the small things. We are all battling this together, and I’m grateful we have the internet and phones to stay connected. Keep going my dears, we’ll be seeing each other soon, I promise.
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