7 Ways to Cope in a Time of COVID19
We do not like change. Change is stressful and unpredictable. Now we are being asked to change our behaviors and alter our routines, by choice or by circumstance, to live in a time of pandemic. Pandemics are scary. They mean living with the unknown, the unseen and it is easy to go to a place of worry and fear, especially when it is effecting us economically. Social distancing and quarantine can cut us off from social support at a time we actually may need it most. So in this perfect storm of change, isolation, disease and a loss of control, how do we stay mentally healthy? Here are a few ideas.
1) Keep some structure and routine in your day: Your days may look very different now, but there are ways to make them predictable for you and those around you. If you have children at home, it means keeping a schedule of learning and play activities. No matter who is in your space, it means having some designated times to read, exercise, call others, sleep, dance around the living room, etc. Routine is important. Do not abandon it.
2) Stay connected: There are so many ways to make connections with others in a virtual world-online groups, chats, video conferencing, gaming, etc. And if you are old school, pick up the phone and yes, make a call, and talk to others daily. Reach out to those you have not spoken with lately or have lost a connection to. Now is the time to rebuild long distance relationships. Check on others in your neighborhood or block or complex to ensure everyone has some connection to others and provide some help if they need it.
3) Do something you have been wanting to do or putting off: Most of us have a list of things we have been wanting to do or needing to tackle. Besides cleaning, how about cleaning out the closets and drawers, organizing collections, updating your resume, reading a book you have always wanted to read, or finishing a crossword puzzle. Now is the time to tie up loose ends. Learn something new with online lessons and videos (most of which are free). Now is the time to work on learning that second language, figuring out how to felt, or becoming the household expert on plumbing.
4) Create, Create, Create: Tapping into creative expression is a great way to relieve stress and fear. And it is something that can be done in your space. Put on your favorite music and maybe discover some new artists) and dance. Family dance parties are awesome. Get out any art supplies you have and make something; paint, knit, hook rug, stamp, color. Better still, make something to give to a friend or neighbor. And sing, really loud, as often as you want. Write the great American novel, start journaling, or have everyone in your house come up with a character and put together a play.
5) Move it: Stress and boredom bring on the pacing. Pacing is an indicator you need to actually exercise. Exercise is a stress reliever, mind eraser, and can be done anywhere, alone or with others as a fun family activity. Get outside every day. Even if you are socially distancing you can still walk or hike or run. Access the amazing catalog of online workouts. There are free resources where you, and just your body, can do yoga, Zumba, Tai Chi, isometrics, crunches, push-ups, and myriad other routines at all fitness levels. Build time for movement into your daily schedule.
6) Rediscover time with the ones you love: You know those people with whom you live and maybe see sometimes, now they could be in your space all the time. And that is a good thing. Play games, talk, do crafts together, play Jeopardy on Alexa, make up interesting recipes with the food you have in the house and cook together, have deep dive discussions, or have a lot of good sex. Now is the chance to reconnect. If you live alone you can still have a person or two over to visit or visit others.
7) Support your local small business: Many businesses are open. Stop by one you have been wanting to check out. Buy gift cards from them online so they have a stream of revenue. If your salon is open, get a haircut. Continue to make payments to your gym if you can. Drive through or stop in and get takeout from a local restaurant.
Overall, take this time, life in a time of COVID19, and make it a time of reflection, renewal, self-care and support of others.