The Support Series

As part of my series in sharing other womens stories, tips & advice, heres something a little different for you from a local Kent crafter.

One woman's story by Laura G Smith

Coping in the Lock-down.

An Agoraphobics Perspective.
As someone who has struggled with Agoraphobia and anxiety for many years now, I've already kind of inhabited a self-imposed lock-down of my own creation I guess – so to find the entire country, nay the World, in that situation has been a strange thing to process.
With those mental health issues lurking, you'd think I'd be in a full on state of panic about things but no, I've been surprisingly calm about it all.
Probably because not going out isn't generally an issue in my life.

I've heard from people recently who are used to going to work every day, saying they are actually starting to get very anxious about going out and being around large numbers of people, queuing in the long lines at the supermarket for example, from where they've been indoors away from people for days at a time instead of mingling with colleagues.

Welcome to what is usually my world except, in a weird twist for me, the whole process of shopping and the queues are slightly less of a challenge because everyone has to stay away and give me some space….some personal space; something that is rarely respected anymore.

For those who are finding it a very foreign concept to have to remain indoors all the time, there is that issue of “How do I occupy my time – what the hell do I do now?”
If you're just not used to your own company and having to rely on your own self to find things to do because you're always at work and busy then going ‘stir-crazy' is suddenly looking like a real possibility!

I think what is key to getting through this enforced confinement is occupying your mind. It's not just about taking physical care of ourselves and exercising the body, our brains constantly need stimulus too.
Whatever you do, do not stare mindlessly at a TV or any other screen for hours on end. If it's work related that's different..but get done and then step away from technology for a while.
Over the years I have found that social media, whilst good in many aspects, can actually be so detrimental to our mental well-being. There is far too much negativity out there, too much judgement and ridicule going on.

So break away from it. Spend time in nature, do some artwork, even if you think or say you can't draw, you can. Just because it's not a Rembrandt or Picasso doesn't make any less of a masterpiece.
So don't be shy or afraid to pick up a pen or pencil and start doodling away. You may surprise yourself.

Now, I know I said I have no issue with staying home…lock-down hasn't changed an awful lot about my daily life if I'm honest…apart from the fact I have been wanting to go out a bit more just because I know places are going to be so much quieter or better still, empty!
But like everyone else, I am remaining inside as much as I can so other things I have found good to occupy me are learning new subjects via free or low cost online courses.
These also don't require hours upon hours staring at a screen to complete things by a deadline as they're often unlimited on time and how quickly you choose to tackle the modules.

I recently embarked on a Proofreading Basics course through an online site called CourseGate. www.coursegate.co.uk
I also started a BSL-British Sign Language course a while ago that is ongoing and is being completed at my leisure.
That was with OfCourse. www.ofcourse.co.uk

Both of those were under £30, they are purely basic introductions but they're still very informative, professionally recognised and there is even proper certification available on both at the end if you want it.

These online companies offer many courses on all manner of things, from learning Reiki to Russian, Sciences to Spanish, geology, astronomy, you name it, you'll most likely find it.

So please don't fret about being stuck indoors…take deep breaths, look at what you do have around you, the resources at your finger tips.
And there are definitely some exceptions to the ‘don't stare at a screen' rule…and that's video chatting with your family, friends, workmates..anybody.
Keeping yourself connected by whatever means you can is another vital resource in getting yourself through this time of uncertainty.
Talking to others, you will hopefully realise all your anxiety and worry is normal, you're not alone as others will be feeling exactly the same way.

So for now, STAY HOME AND STAY SAFE…and look after yourself.

LauraGS.

You can connect with Laura at www.instagram.com/tripl3art_x

www.facebook.com/tripl3art

And if you are looking for somewhere to connect, share your art, learn something new or offer you own artistic tips please head over to the facebook group below.  Let's support each other!

www.facebook.com/Be-YOU-TheInspiredCreatives

“Creativity is contagious, pass it on”

“By supporting each other, we will make this journey a whole lot easier and more enjoyable”

Love Sophia x

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