Omicron – Coping with Rapid Change

We may not be in the same position as we were last year, but the situation is rapidly evolving due to the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 and with rumblings in the press and on social media about further restrictions and even a two-week circuit breaker post-Christmas we wanted to reassure you and offer some support for those struggling to comprehend and manage the uncertainty surroundings change.

With the media already reeling from the ‘leaked’ document information, and the public spiralling in panic mode, everyone is expecting an announcement to be made before Christmas. Of course, nothing is set in stone and none of us know what is going to happen. We simply wanted to offer some advice and coping mechanisms that may help you juggle this unclear time and period of change in the run up to Christmas.

We have also provided a link to our Covid-19 Resource hub which we developed as the nation went into lockdown last year, and helplines so you know what support there is at your fingertips as things continue to change.

Currently, fear and anxiety are driving many people as we wait for further news from the government. This can be overwhelming but there are things you can do to limit their effect. Fear is positioned to directly feed into anxiety with those ‘what if’s’ ringing in our ears 24/7. The lack of certainty, the lack of trust in leaders, in our own judgement, along with the general feeling of being out of control, understandably leads to people trying to make decisions that are based on fear, rather than on facts.

Fear has four responses: fight, flight, freeze, and flop. We saw all of these last year with people clearing the shelves in supermarkets, stockpiling tins of food, toilet rolls and paracetamol, stories of garages and lofts stocked ready for the apocalypse. These survival responses can create ‘ugly’ scenes and feelings of desperation, anger, resentment and of course, anxiety.

This time around of course, we feel more ‘seasoned’ with the situation but that doesn’t make it any easier to make considered decisions as thing change almost hourly. Especially given the lack of information we have access to. So, anxiety – how do we manage it in a changing situation?

  • Control the controllable: Try to work on being in the here and now to fully immerse yourself in the joy of people you’re with and situations you’re in.
  • Do something you love to do and indulge in it.
  • Give yourself permission to feel uncertain and low but also plan to do something that lifts your mood.
  • Remember to ask for help from those around you.
  • Address your social media or phone usage if it’s stressing you out or adding to your anxiety. Two phones help many people, one for work one for home. Or a little trick we’ve recently just found out about is switching your phone display to greyscale on an iPhone, rather than viewing in colour. For us it felt like a switch being turned off and immediately made the phone feel like less of a draw to continually pick up and scroll through. Simply go to Settings-Accessibility-Display & Text Size-Colour Filters.
  • For those who have lost someone during all this, do something in their memory this year. Or write them a letter to update them on what is happening, how you’re doing or ask the questions you wish you’d ask, say the things you wish you’d said.
  • Remember your breathing exercises – there are loads that you can follow along with on You Tube if you don’t know where to start.
  • Go for a walk, immerse yourself in nature, maybe go to the beach, and focus on your five senses to regulate how and what you’re feeling.
  • Create a playlist on Spotify or Apple music full of songs that make you feel good. Music can help to make sense of our emotions and thoughts and offer a distraction.
  • Journal those thoughts, empty them into a book or jar, or record voice notes so you can leave those thoughts somewhere else.

FURTHER SUPPORT AND RESOURCES

If you find yourself struggling with change, fear or anxiety and need additional support, all of our resources that link back to the pandemic and Covid-19 can be found in our Hub.

In this resource hub, Fortis therapists have shared a whole lot of useful information, advice, and tools to support you and your loved ones with their mental health, from children’s coping techniques to mindfulness exercises.

 

HELP IS AT HAND

Samaritans is open 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk. You can visit some Samaritans branches in person. Free phone 116 123.

Shout mental health text service – text SHOUT to 85258, 24/7 service where trained volunteers are available to talk day and night.

Beat offers support, information and advice on eating disorders and runs a supportive online community. Adults 0808 801 0677; youth line 0808 801 0711; student line 08088010811.

CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably – provides listening services, information and support for anyone who needs to talk, including web chat. Call 0800 58 58 58.

Cruse Bereavement Care provides information and support after bereavement. Call 0808 808 1677.

LGBT Foundation is there to give advice, support and information for people identifying as LGBTQ+ call 0345 3 30 30 30.

Men’s Advice Line, is a service offering confidential support for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse by current, or ex-partner or family member. Call 0808 801 0327.

Money Advice Service provides free and impartial money advice. Call 0800 138 7777.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline is a free, 24-hour helpline for women who have experience domestic abuse, run by domestic violence charity Refuge. It is run by female advisors. Call 0808 2000 247.

Relate provides help and support with relationships, including counselling, telephone counselling and anonymous live chat. Call 0300 003 0396.

The Silver Line provides support, information, friendship and advice for those over 55 who may feel lonely or isolated. Call 0800 470 80 90.

Stand Alone is a charity that supports adults who are estranged (not in contact) from the family. Visit standalone.org.uk

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) offers emotional and practical support and local groups for anyone bereaved or affected by suicide. Call 0300 111 5065.

Switchboard is a listening service and source of information and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. Call 0300 330 0630.

Tommy’s offers information and support to people affected by stillbirth, miscarriage and premature birth. Visit tommys.org

The Trussell Trust offers emergency food and support for people in need. The website has a searchable list of food banks trusselltrust.org

We’re Here To Help

If you have any questions at all about mental health, please do get in touch with the team by calling 01472 241794 or emailing [email protected]

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