Log into social media, open up a newspaper or switch on the TV and there is only one thing everyone is talking about at the moment: coronavirus, or COVID-19. With lots of uncertainty, conflicting information and scaremongering, it can be overwhelming and can take a toll on our mental health to be constantly thinking and worrying about it. We wanted to share what we’re doing at Tornado and some tips on how to ease anxieties.
This week, at the recommendation of the government, our team will all be working from home. Home working is something our team have been doing for many years and clients will still get the same excellent service whether we’re in the office, our office roof garden or at home. Tornado are fully cloud based and can access anything we need from anywhere in the world, including on our Macs, laptops and phones. We communicate with each other regularly via chat software called Slack. This gives us video, text, gifs, emojis, plenty of office banter, catching up with each other, sharing, talking about your project and making sure everyone is OK.
As we’re advised to practice “social distancing”, face to face meetings will be rearranged until further recommendations from the Government. We can replace meetings with Skype calls or Google Hangouts. All our devices have cameras so you will be able to see us on your screen, but you don’t have to show us yours! We can also show you our screens, presentations, designs, websites etc. If you’re not sure how to Hangout or to Skype, we can help you get set up before it’s time for us to chat.
We are monitoring the situation closely and at all times the priority of Tornado is the welfare of our team, customers and community.
To look after their physical health we are recommending all team members:
- Carry and use tissues to catch coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. We recommend singing My Chemical Romances’ Welcome to the Black Parade from “When I was” to “the beaten and the damned” (but Happy Birthday x 2 works too).
- Continue to wash your hands at least every 2 hours.
- Report in if you have a temperature or a new continuous cough. If you, or anyone in your household, have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 14 days from when the first symptoms started. If you need anything while self isolating contact us and we will try and help.
- If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111.
- For a medical emergency dial 999.
- Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
To help our team we have shared some tips on how you can look after your mental health amid all the coronavirus uncertainty.
Switch it off
We live in a world of 24/7 news channels, websites and social media. If you’re refreshing news websites or are tuned in to 24/7 news channels to get the latest, stop.
Newspapers have to fill pages, news channels have to fill airtime, websites have to attract hits to get ad revenue. The majority of news will be about coronavirus, and the same stories will be recycled and repeated over and over. All media has an agenda, whether that’s ad revenue or political allegiances, they all have to spin whatever they can from this in increasingly panic-striken ways to grab your attention, but you don’t have to engage with any of it if it’s making you feel anxious.
Make sure you get your information from trusted sources.
Social media is a hotbed of conspiracy theories, abuse, rumours and people who think they know better than medical professionals. Did you know your Aunty Doris was an expert virologist, with many thoughts on the government’s response to coronavirus? Bin it all off!
The UK government has a dedicated coronavirus page on its website here. This is the Government’s official response and is the most up to date resource on their plans.
If you feel that you really need to keep one eye on a news channel to keep up to date, limit the time you spend on their website or watching the channel. Watch the 6 o’clock bulletin instead of having Sky News on 24/7, or like we do with emails, set a dedicated time when you’ll check your news apps or websites. You won’t miss anything, it’ll just be the same article regurgitated every hour.
Prune your social feeds
All the people you follow on social media are likely to be accounts that tweet about things you like, you may also follow celebrities and influencers, some of which can be a bit controversial for shits and giggles and because it gets them more followers. Logging into Twitter at the moment and you can quite easily find yourself down the rabbit hole of a thread on how the Illuminati have manufactured Coronavirus to increase sales of bog roll or Dave from the pub’s handy gif about how to decrease infection rates with tinfoil hats.
You are in charge of what you see on your social media feeds. If you’re sick of seeing so much negativity and scaremongering, it’s time to prune your social feeds.
On Facebook, you can unfollow people without unfriending them. This means that you’ll still be friends, so no awkward conversations at football (when it’s back on) when Dennis realises you’ve binned him off, but you won’t see their updates in your newsfeed.
If it’s a page: find one of their posts (either on your newsfeed or on their page) and click the three little dots on the right. This will bring up the options. You can choose to snooze them for 30 days or unfollow their posts until you turn them back on.
If it’s a friends’ profile: head to their profile page and click on Following. This will bring up the options. You can choose to unfollow them and not see their posts anymore (sorry Dave), but still remain friends.
On Twitter, unfollow or mute people who get you down, and head to your account settings and find your content settings to mute specific words so that you can read about something other than people fighting over bog roll.
At the moment muting words like CORVID-19 or Coronavirus might make Twitter a pretty empty place as that is all people are really talking about. But this is the time to find new things that enhance your social media feeds.
Try and do something positive
If you’ve got the headspace for it and feel up to it, why not join in and contribute in a positive way. We have all seen the memes and reports of supermarket shelves being emptied by bog roll and pasta hoarders and to hear about elderly people who are struggling.
If you feel like you need to be doing something, check in with your elderly neighbours, friends and families and see if there’s anything you can do for them, be it picking up prescriptions or doing some food shopping for them.
Where possible shop local, small businesses are going to need all the help we can give them over the next few weeks.
Finally, if you’re really struggling with your mental health and the coronavirus panic is making it worse, don’t forget that you can still access help and advice even though it feels as though everything has shut down.
Know that there are many resources you can access online and over the phone, whether that’s us at Tornado, and we are here for anyone that needs to talk or professional online counselling sessions or crisis support lines.