It’s been months since the first case of COVID-19 in the Wuhan province in China, and about a week since the first case in Umeå.

As someone with lowkey but ever-present anxiety, I have been keeping up to date with it, and seen its spread across maps and charts in an attempt to calm myself by staying informed.

Needless to say, my obsession with the numbers and tracking the infection has done nothing to ease my anxiety, and everything to heighten it, alongside feelings of hopelessness, loss of control, and overall being very afraid.

My home is in the UK, and as more and more travel bans are put in place, I am unsure whether to stay or go, and if I will end up stuck horribly in-between. Whilst I am unsure of almost everything, there are a few things I do know – I am not alone in my feelings, and I can help control them.

COOKING:  Do not go crazy and panic buy everything you can get your hands on. Make the most of the time spent at home and cook food that will nourish you and will last well. I find practical activities with a tangible outcome really soothe me.

CALL FRIENDS AND FAMILY: You might have to be alone but you don’t have to be lonely. Everyone is social distancing, but in the age of the internet, staying in (metaphorical) contact is easier than ever.

WORKOUT: Exercise is a great way to stay healthy, keep your immune system up, and feel good. Find online classes to keep your contact to others to a minimum. Try yoga or meditation for a workout that is also great for stress relief.

NEW HOBBIES: Try something you haven’t before, or have always been meaning to! I have started painting, but reading, writing, sewing, learning a new language or instrument are all great ways to constructively spend time by yourself.

CATCH UP ON LIFE: Those tasks that have been on your to-do list for months? Now is the perfect time to tackle them! Reorganising your wardrobe, sending that email or trying a new recipe are all things you can do while you social distance.

Maybe this is a cruel trick, we live in such fast paced lives that being forced to stay inside, social distancing is a good way to remind us what really matters – our health, our friends and family, and doing what we love.

When we all emerge from such strange times, maybe we should take some of these sentiments with us; compassion to those less fortunate, gratitude for everything we have and the knowledge we don’t need 24 rolls of toilet paper for 2 weeks.

In the wise words of High School Musical: We are all in this together.

Emily Rose Williams