Constantly changing situations and expectations are challenging for all of us. Most of us have never experienced quarantine, social distancing, wearing medical masks, or any of the other changes a pandemic brings. This can directly effect our physical and mental health.
We can begin to feel things or think things that may not make sense or that we haven't experienced before. Know that you are not alone. I have included some tips for managing pandemic stress here.
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Managing Covid-19 Stress
If you are feeling anxious or worried, you are not alone. I have put together some practical techniques to help you manage during this difficult time:
- Allow yourself to worry, but set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes, then follow it up with a funny tv show, a movie, or even a tik tok clip
- When a worry thought enters your mind, ask yourself is this true, false or don’t know? Become a detective (without doing internet research) and ask yourself some questions to better understand your thought process and see if the evidence supports your worry or if you are able to let it go
- "Treat yo self" (reference to Parks and Rec)-Now is the time to reconnect to a self care practice or start a new one-think about ways you can pamper yourself to take your mind off the situation
- Exercise-whether this is a walk around the block or running the stairs, get your endorphins flowing, this will provide a protective shield against worry, anxiety and depression
- Expose yourself to direct sunlight and absorbs some vitamin D, or supplement if the weather is cloudy (Please note this is a suggestion and not medical advice, always consult with your primary care physician if you plan to take a new supplement)
- Increase your Vitamin C intake (Please note this is a suggestion and not medical advice, always consult with your primary care physician if you plan to take a new supplement)
- “This too shall pass”-remind yourself that emotions can hijack you temporarily, they are not permanent, even if it feels that way in the moment, ride the wave of emotions and let them gently pass
- Take a screen break, limit social media (delete apps, even temporarily if needed), avoid the news for a few days-give yourself space
- Take some time to organize your home, work space, hobby space-this will also calm your mind and allow you to process incoming information with more ease
- Start a gratitude practice-each morning when you wake up find one to three things you are thankful for
- Find a ritual-if you are quarantined find a way to have a routine or something that normalizes the experience
- Remember how resilient you are-you have been through life transitions and you came out stronger, remind yourself of this
- Practice social isolation or isolation socially, whichever version fits for you, but remember to not isolate too much-stay connected to family and friends, live stream events, engage in positive/uplifting social media
- Give back-in times of distress it can be rewarding to donate to a cause, help a neighbor in need, smile at a stranger, tip the delivery driver extra, thank the cashier who looks overwhelmed
We will get through this, and we will be stronger because of it!
Thank you to Janelle Mae, LMFT for compiling this wonderful list of ideas and resources.
Link to a somewhat humorous (after all we need some humor now!) article that promotes radical acceptance, beware profanity included:http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2020/04/02/none-of-this-is-normal/