On Monday afternoon I began to feel ill.
I thought nothing much about it at the time, expecting it to pass within an hour or so.
Because it was only the weekend when I thought to myself how healthy I was feeling at the moment, so this is just a little blip. A little bumpy patch of road on my journey through my day.
Yet by Monday evening, my symptoms had got worse.
I felt sick.
I ached in my legs, my stomach, my shoulders and my lower back.
I felt so tired, I could have slept standing up.
My face was burning up and I had not managed to last 30 seconds in the last 3 hours without sneezing or blowing my nose.
It’s no longer a blip.
If this was a bumpy road, I would have turned off and taken a different route by now.
Suddenly I had a new problem.
All of a sudden I became very aware and very anxious about Coronavirus.
What if I have caught it?
I am due to get shopping tomorrow for my parents, I can’t give it to them!
What if I pass it on to Hayley?
How do we live together if I have this?
(At this point, whilst watching some evening Netflix drama, I got off the sofa and laid on the floor! Distancing myself from Hayley)
I’m also now planning to sleep on the floor tonight instead of in the bed.
How am I going to walk Oscar?
This can’t be happening!! I’ve taken all the right precautions!
There is no cure for this Virus – is this how I am going to die?!
I struggle with all chest related illness due to my hiatus hernia so this is going to be awful for me!!
Whoa there Marky Mark……
Take a step back from your thoughts.
I focused on my breathe for a moment.
I breathed in through my nose for 4 seconds, held it for a further 4 seconds and then exhaled through my mouth for 8 seconds (you should definitely try this if you are feeling anxious)
This brought down the cortisol in my body and helped regulate my stress response.
Now I could think with a clearer and calmer mind.
Why was I feeling ill?
Well, firstly, this time of year has always been the prime time of year for my hayfever to make an appearance. After a week of warmer weather, people have been cutting their grass and as I suffer with an allergy to grass pollen, this explains the runny nose, the sneezes, the tiredness and the overheating face.
So why was I aching so much?
Was it as I first feared? I had contracted coronavirus? Or was it more likely that the 2 INSANE workouts I recorded for my online bootcamps on Sunday had resulted in some general muscle soreness?
The sickness in my tummy and that general uncomfortable feeling in my gut was more likely due to some excessive ab work over the weekend and a pulled muscle or two from moving house rather than anything more sinister.
Add in to the mix the stress of moving house over the weekend and the 5 hours sleep I managed to get on Sunday night (more on that in a moment) and it is easy to see why I was feeling this way.
Yet I had let myself get swallowed by the fear, panic and anxiety that this virus is spreading across the nation, the world and the media at the moment.
And you know what? It’s ok to feel anxious right now.
We are in uncharted waters at the moment and it is natural we are all going to feel a little unsure, a little restless and a little nervous.
We need to allow ourselves the chance to feel these emotions.
One sure fire way to increase your anxiety levels is for somebody to say “don’t feel so anxious”.
Yet we do feel anxious at the moment but we also need to be sensible about it and not totally irrational like I was on Monday night.
Whilst what we are going through is incredibly hard for us all at the moment, we can reduce our anxiety in a few simple steps.
Firstly, you can always revert back to the breathing technique I talked about earlier. Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, hold for a further 4 and the exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 8. You can repeat this as many times as you need throughout the day.
Next we can look at distancing.
We are all doing a great job with social distancing (depending on what country you are in), but what about Digital Distancing?
As more and more of us self-isolate, we spend more time on social media platforms (which is probably why you are reading this right now) and there really isn’t that much to do on social media if you think about it is there? So people talk about coronavirus, about Covid-19 and they share news articles, talk about deaths, stats, self-isolation – and they do it ALLDAY!
When you come away from social media, you check in on the news apps and that is all about the Coronavirus. Stories again of death, statistics, ‘experts’ guessing on how long this will be here for and how YOU are going to catch Covid-19.
They all bread fear and panic and raise our anxiety levels.
It’s obviously important to stay up to date with what is happening but try and limit your visits to the news apps to twice a day. Just to see if there are any further government updates perhaps?
Stop yourself scrolling social media and instead, just check in on certain pages, friends and groups that you follow.
If we are to self-isolate for 2 weeks, don’t spend it entirely on social media. Do something that takes your mind of the fear and anxiety of Coronavirus.
Maybe try a hobby you have always wanted to try but never had the time to start before. I am going to use my free time learning to play the guitar again (tried years ago – I am NOT a natural!)
Take this opportunity to do things around the house.
Maybe re-organise your wardrobe or get the garden sorted for summer.
We have just moved house so we have plenty of cabinets to build, boxes to unpack and shit to throw out. We even have an allotment so what a great opportunity this is to grow some fresh fruit and veg!!
Whatever you do, try to distance yourself from the fear as much as possible.
I mentioned earlier that I didn’t sleep very well Sunday night. That was purely down to me reading SkyNews straight before I got into bed!
It planted that anxiety seed in my head right before I shut my eyes and it made my made work overtime when it should have been resting.
So breath, relax and spend your time doing something happy and productive rather than sitting in a bath of fear and anxiety.