COVID-19 not only took some of our loved ones from us, but it has also taken our sense of normalcy since the pandemic started. The other issues it has created include job loss, financial strain, social isolation, loneliness, and a long list of other complications it has brought on the world. It can be a challenging situation, but here are some things you can do to help cope with these circumstances to try and help ease some stress and suffering.
- Be kind to yourself and others
You may feel lost, confused, anxious, and worried, but so is everyone else. Nobody has ever experienced this type of situation before, so most people are taking things a day at a time. While they are very normal emotions to have and should allow yourself to feel these feelings and show yourself some compassion and patience for your struggles. Do not try to push away difficult feelings or force yourself to “think positive.” It will deny the reality of your current feelings and experience. Your feelings are valid, and ALL emotions are okay to have, even tough ones.
- Manage your feelings
Find a way to acknowledge and express your difficult emotions in a safe and controlled manner, for example, write them down in a journal or letter, talk to a friend, get physical exercise, or practice yoga/meditation. If your ways are interfering with your ability to function daily, seriously consider reaching out to a mental health professional. Above all, think about how you would show compassion and the advice you would give a friend and apply that to yourself and others.
- Be realistic and lower your expectations
It is not realistic to think you can handle and do it all like home school your children, work full-time from home, maintain a perfect (clean, orderly) household, and take care of yourself and others. Try prioritizing one of two things, and let the other stuff slide aside. Leave the teaching to teachers and focus on parenting. Take time out of your days to focus on self-care and remind yourself not to worry if you wait a little to start or finish projects, do laundry, and let the dishes pile. Do not expect too much of yourself. You will get to it when you can and should focus on high priority things.
- Make the best of the situation
Distinguish between things you can control and things you cannot. Specifically, you are in control of your response to the situation. Accept that the future can be uncertain and recognize that you will and will not have control over areas of your life.
- Keep your routines
It would be in your best interest to not sleep until noon every day. Try to keep your schedule and routine as close the same as before, with some modifications to suit your new routine. Have set times for work, meals, activities, and a regular bedtime. Try not to increase your alcohol intake more than it was before.
- Keep physical, not social, distance from others
When we are being told to stay away from others, it can be hard not to isolate yourself socially, especially those who live alone. Try to make an effort to keep in touch with family, friends, and colleagues through email, FaceTime, video conferencing, and phone calls. Make appointments with friends to meet for a video or telephone call just like you would with an in-person get-together. Zoom parties are a thing as well. Share some food or drinks with friends and catch up regularly.
- Stick to reliable sources for facts
Pick one to two sources that you trust to get your information. Social media may make you feel anxious and angry, so it can be a good idea to avoid it or take a break from it. Consider limiting your scrolling time to 20 minutes or so, once or twice a day, or skip it altogether.
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