Beyond the crucial aspects of sanitizing and social distancing, most people are encountering varying degrees of stress from the current pandemic situation, whether that is because of a changed schedule, uncertainty financially, or just the expectation of the unknown.
I have found a few things that have helped me since the pandemic has begun.
TURN OFF THE NEWS:
I am the first one to encourage people to stay objectively informed of what is happening in the world or society, but at a certain point, we can be immersing ourselves in too much information. After having the general facts, it’s time to turn off the TV, close your browser, or close your app. I have set a timer for 30 minutes each day that allows me to check my news app and social media. By that point, I know what is going on and don’t find myself being sucked into the latest update that, in the long-run, isn’t going to impact me generally–especially before I read the news again the next day. If you continue to read and watch, it’s easy to get into a mental loop of negative thought and hopelessness.
GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
While there have been other events in our recent history that have been historically significant and impactful (e.g. 9/11, 2008 Great Recession, etc.), this truly is a different type of situation given the fact that it is based on the spread of a disease. With school being cancelled, businesses being closed, and a general upheaval of our lives, please be kind to yourself. There is no set way to process what is happening but holding yourself to a standard in such a transformative time is not only unfair to yourself and those around you but also unrealistic. If you don’t finish your to-do list, it’s ok. If your kids don’t get through all their assigned work, it’s ok. If you don’t shower and do all of your Zoom calls without the camera turned on; it’s ok. There is no “right” way to go through this.
With everything that is happening in terms of people losing jobs, businesses closing, people getting sick, and others dying, it’s hard to step back and be thankful. Even though it’s hard, it’s necessary for your well-being. Yes, things are challenging or downright horrible. Yes, things may seem horrific or downright unbearable. That said, there is always something to be thankful for, which helps us to realize that even in bad times, we have good around us. It doesn’t have to be something big. Did you get a hug from your child today? You have a child to love. Did you get to walk outside in your neighborhood with your dog? You’re able to walk and breathe in fresh air. Did you go to sleep in a bed after having dinner? You have some place to sleep after having a meal. Being thankful doesn’t mean you cannot be upset or distraught but giving thanks can help put things in perspective.
USE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR CHANGE
I am a firm believer in growing from change. It may not be what you or anyone wants, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen. There are plenty of things we do not have control over. We do have control over our thoughts. It may not be obvious now but over time, the changes we’re experiencing now will lead to unplanned decisions or events that could completely change your life for the better in the long-run. I have experienced many traumatic events that seems hopeless at the time but after pushing through, it became apparent that each event was crucial point. One instance taught me a lesson that I otherwise never would have learned. Another empowered me to make a hugely beneficial life change. Yet another moved me away from a wholly unhealthy situation.