Door 43 wellbeing blog: Self isolation, social media rumours and the need for rational thinking

Door 43 wellbeing blog: Self isolation, social media rumours and the need for rational thinking

Sadie White No Comment

Over the coming weeks, due to the need to shut our face to face services as a result of Coronavirus, we’ll be keeping in touch with young people that use our Door 43 services online. This is the first of our weekly blogs. In these blogs our Door 43 team will impart wise words, wisdom and tools to help young people manage emotional health and wellbeing during this difficult time. Be sure to look out for these blogs on the Sheffield Futures website and social media channels. 

In this first blog, Luca Jandu our wellbeing worker talks about the need for rational thinking. Self isolation, although necessary right now in terms of physical health, can present some challenges for our emotional health. As our minds wander and we can’t forward plan, with the situation changing daily, we’re prone to catastrophising and this can cause unhelpful anxieties to manifest.  Here, Luca acknowledges this, talks about his own experience and provides some helpful ways to challenge irrational and anxious thoughts. 

 

 

So, this is the first blog from me, in this funny time we are facing! I really hope – considering the circumstances – you are all keeping as well as you can be. It’s uncharted territory for all of us, pushing us all hard emotionally, so it’s never been more important to be mindful of our wellbeing. On this note, I thought it would be worth looking at the need for rational thinking and the importance of trying to find a way to stay calm and keep going – especially hard when we are facing so many new challenges.

I had my own moment of irrational thought and mild panic last week and wanted to tell you about it as there were definitely a few learnings. I’ve been self-isolating since the 18th, so have been on social media a lot more than I usually would. As we know, social media isn’t the most reliable source of information. On the 18th, some rumours started circulating of a military crackdown, which even though I fact checked and found some of the sources to be from a fake website, the constant references to ‘military crackdown’ eventually got the better of me. So,  I rang my housemates to ask them to buy a load of rice, lentils and a crate of chickpeas and tahini – for hummus, I would really struggle without hummus! In hindsight this may have been a little irrational.

 

 

Later that evening – when looking at more reliable sources – I discovered the military had been brought in to support the police. It seems that a few police must be self-isolating or looking after their kids and the military are just doing a bit of their work – the mass of rice, lentils, crate of chick peas and litre of tahini all seems a bit silly now – whoops.

Now ‘rational me’ knows that I’m not going to starve, that the supermarkets will continue to stock the shelves and that the military play an essential role in protecting the public and can provide useful public services in times like these, getting food to isolated vulnerable people for example, which is very important. I usually have a pretty good grip on the irrational me and control my impulses, but I guess times like this can challenge our rational selves, push us all to do irrational things and social media can act as fuel in this fire. This incident emphasised to me the need to fact check what I read on social media with reliable sources, and to be a bit more conscious and mindful of my thoughts to try to keep a better grip on my irrational self.

After I told the team at Door 43 about this we posted some links to more reliable sources of information on our social media channels alongside some alternative positive news stories. I’ve put these links below for you at the bottom of my blog. We ask you in these difficult times to try to choose your sources of information carefully and look for the links we post too. While this is a difficult time with some challenges that will be new to all of us, we need to be cautious of where our information is coming from, fact check, use reputable sources for news and think rationally.

I’ve pulled together questions to ask yourselves that may help to challenge irrational thoughts as they arise. Maybe I wouldn’t be sat among this mass of rice, lentils if i’d considered these for a moment!

Questions to ask yourself when challenging irrational or anxious thoughts.

  1. Is there any evidence that contradicts my worry? Can I trust the source of my worry? Do I have all the information? Am I ignoring any contrary facts? Are my sources reputable and trustworthy?
  2. Am I assuming the worst will happen? Ask yourself – ‘Have I jumped to the worst- case scenario? How likely is this to happen really?
  3. Am I jumping to conclusions? Ask yourself – do you have the facts to back up your thoughts? Are they based in reality?
  4. What are the costs and benefits of thinking in this way? Is this a positive / healthy way of thinking? What would a healthier more balanced thought look like?
  5. Am I ignoring positive information? Is the negative looming unnecessarily large?
  6. How will I feel about this in 6 months? In a year? Look to the future, putting a situation into another point in time can give you a valuable, calming perspective.
  7. Is there another way of looking at this situation? Can you think of positives? For example, yes you might be stuck inside and you can’t see your friends but on the flip side it won’t be for ever and taking this action now will mean we can all get back to normal more quickly and safeguard the most vulnerable people.

Hopefully going through these questions when irrational or anxious thoughts get the better of you will help you slow your mind down so you can check yourself for catastrophising, unhelpful thinking and gain some perspective.

I wish you all the best in this challenging time and remember that Door 43 – even in if in a virtual form – is still here to support you. Keep an eye on our website and social media for more information about this. We’re working hard to get things up and running.

Take care of yourselves and each other and watch this space for our next blog next Wednesday.

Luca

Information on the importance of looking after yourself:

https://bit.ly/33GNSu4

https://bit.ly/2Usalac

https://bit.ly/3dnJTXV

Reliable information sources:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Positive news:
https://www.facebook.com/thehappybroadcast/

https://bit.ly/33MD3ac

 

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