Stuck at home. Worrying? It’s tough, especially if you’re on your own. But unlike past epidemics, we have advantages. We know it’s cause (covid-19), and how it spreads (not divine thunderbolt or creeping miasmas). We also have the internet to reassure ourselves about friends and relatives without long distance rides or pigeon post. We’ve also been told how to keep safe and help the NHS cope- avoiding physical contact, washing hands. But it’s an anxious time. Anxiety weakens your immune system. You may need it. So what can we do?
Phone someone- ask how THEY are. If you’re not up to speed on texts, tweets, WhatsApp or Messenger- now’s the time! If I can manage to post a video online and do a Zoom meet with my distant kids, anyone can. Google has info on how to do almost anything (except produce edible Yorkshire puddings).
Remember most people who get Covid, survive. We know about ordinary flu. We may have no ‘herd’ immunity against this new virus, but our bodies can make antibodies against it. People are getting better. Sadly, we personally can’t do anything about those who don’t, but we can remind ourselves we’re staying in to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed with those very sick with underlying health issues or who’ve received a high viral load. Staying in slows it down.
Wash your hands for 2 Happy Birthdays after being out for essentials. If your skin’s cracking, you might be over-doing it. Covid doesn’t breed in skin cracks, it loves noses, throats and lungs. Good news is that soap shatters its protective coat- though that doesn’t mean drinking soap helps! In fact, don’t believe anything not on an official website that you can fully identify at the top of your browser: dangerous rubbish info is everywhere.
Get up, get dressed. Try smiling to the mirror. Comb your hair. Have breakfast. Then make a plan for the day: tidy something: clean something: read something: write something. Write a diary as yourself or pretend you’re someone else. Who knows – it might become a best seller! Look up free online courses- or poetry! Felt pen a picture.
N.B. In the ‘do something’ I wouldn’t include ironing- life’s too short and you aren’t going anywhere! And if you can’t concentrate on reading a book- try short stories or a blog. Or games and puzzles- jigsaws, words or numbers- anything to ‘busy’ your brain..
Don’t look every half hour at news and death rates. Strictly one news bulletin each day.
Don’t sit all day at a computer or on a sofa dozing at the box, get up every half hour. Walk to the loo, walk up and down stairs (sorry, flat-dwellers!), take a drink, or do stretching or other exercises (loads on TV or online now- no excuse). Play with the cat- talk to the budgie or dance in the kitchen. Be active. Remember the closet imps who sew up your clothes at weekends, making them too tight on Mondays, will be extra busy over the coming weeks indoors. The fridge is a danger zone for boredom. Remember we only need 2-2,500 calories per day if sedentary (depending on age and sex). Personally however, I don’t consider the odd chocolate brownie fattening (please note this is not verified by scientific evidence…) Get out and garden (if you’re lucky) or walk. Today I walked in the rain. Why not? Even if I couldn’t see through my glasses when I got home, I felt better.
More positives? Few of us will ever again have the chance to do anything we like without social or other outside commitments. Adjustment is hard, but we are in it together. If you’re working at home, great (especially enjoy knowing you still had PJ bottoms on during that video conference). If you’re working front line in the NHS, pharmacies, the police, deliveries, the supermarkets, caring or helping the elderly or housebound, terrific. If you’re trying to home school, you deserve a medal! But whatever, there’s no point wasting energy worrying about something we cannot change. Let’s stay smiling, stay safe and stay busy!
Anne Pettigrew

Retired GP

  1. That’s fantastic Anne thank you for your positive words of wisdom – it is much appreciated! Best wishes and take care xx

  2. Hello Anne. Havent bumped into you in years. Hope you are enjoying retirement life.It was great to read your post. So much positivity. I agree watch only 1 news program.I was totally stressed outso much on Monday evening after lock down announced as I watched so much
    “frightening ” fake news on TV. Couldn’t eat or sleep that night.
    Take care

    • WE will get through this as long as we can slow it up by keeping at home as much as possible. Do take care,

  3. Thankyou.

    • Thanks to you. I saw on social media so many people feeling anxious and thought it might help! The more people who realise this is serious but better for everyone if we stay calm and stay in, the quicker we will all get back to normal..

    • You are welcome! Sometimes we need to put things into perspective. Like today, I find we have no parmesan cheese for my spaghetti- but what does it really matter!

  4. Thank you x as always wise words just as u did as my GP for many many years x

    • Lovely to hear from you. Do share this- I have heard from so many folk going mad in the house! Hope you and yours are all well.

    • I remember! Nice to catch up with patients again, but sorry it is because of this corona outbreak. Keep safe.

  5. That was a wonderful positive blog…it was uplifting and light-hearted…thank you

  6. Thankyou Anne,
    You won’t remember me but you helped me when I first had ME. I am especially vigilant at the moment but I am finding maintaining positivity every day more and more difficult. Your post is just the kick I needed.
    Thankyou again.

    • Thanks for reading it. Started it after talking at length on phone to someone so stressed they weren’t getting out of bed. We will get back to normal one day soon.

  7. Thanks Anne, just what we all need 😁 Stay well and keep writing . Missing you
    Mhairi x

    • Miss everyone too. Editing book 2 again now computer behaving itself again.. fingers crossed it continues!

  8. Fantastic guidance, normailses are very abnormal situation in words that we can all relate to and put into practice (especially the chocolate brownie part)
    Thank you

  9. The calm voice of reason. Lovely to hear! I’m with you on the ironing! Thank you for sharing this.

  10. Just read this and it made me smile. You were my GP a few years ago and you certainly haven’t lost your touch!. As a mum of 2 boys I realise the need to stay safe and positive. We have done some homework,exercised at home gone on walks,watched some movies and just generally kept busy. This is not forever ..and hopefully soon we can get back to some kind of “normality”..whatever that is 😊..take care.

  11. Hi Dr Anne… Love your post and can identify with some of it… Mainly the closet imps, who are running rampant in my wardrobe at the moment. I also thank you for the permission to hide the iron for the foreseeable future. All the good work we endured at the water aerobics classes is slowly reversing the effect it had on my well being. However replacing it with gardening… Dancing to you tube videos and walking round the park may just keep the worst of the rot at bay. Until we are all back at the pool you take care and stay safe

    • Nice to hear from you! I miss the pool myself, but we’ll get back and have to work harder! Making do with afternoon village strolls and exercise bike- though admit this afternoon I need to iron my duvet cover as mangled in wrong tumble dryer setting. Should have left it till today and could have hung it out- more exercise!

  12. This was so refreshing to read. You were my lovely Gp for a few years and your words still have the power to calm me. I can actually hear your voice in my head 😂
    Take care and keep well anne xx

    • Gosh… bit worried if yu are hearing voices! Seriously though, since I can’t help treat patients now, some humorous advice might be helpful. Stay safe!

  13. Thank you for your words of wisdom through these crazy times. As one of the “Shielded” group I am not even worrying about it (oh how I’ve changed)! All I can do is my best and stick to the guidance, what will be. Hope you and your family are keeping safe.Take care. H.x

    • Nice to hear from you. All family well and hope you sit this out by keeping busy… My husband is madly planting veg and I may go and join him. BTW, Book 2 is on the way Hazel- if you read book one leave a review please! Amazon only promotes books with lots of reviews. Still trying to raise more money for PLanUK. Just think what it must be like in India- no space to social distance, no running water for handwashing and no money to buy hand sanitizer. Terrifying. We have one girl in Mumbai sharing a mosquito-infested steamy room with 3 other girls. They can only go out at 7am for food. Some days there is none. All we can do is What’s App her once a day. |Makes UK seem like paradise. Take care.

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