“Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.”
Currently, humanity is in a prolonged state of crisis. What happens tomorrow is unknown. People fear the unknown. It feels unstable, unpredictable and scary. You are acting aggressively. You are in denial. You feel frozen. You are anxious and sad. You feel alone and are missing family, friends, and loved ones. These are all common responses when your mind believes you are in danger. You can learn more about the anatomy of fear by reading the first part of our COVID-19 blog, 4 Ways to Manage Your Fear & Anxiety During the Corona Virus Pandemic. You are grieving your old normalcy. However, although the world has and will continue to change, you are still in control of yourself regardless of what your emotional experience is telling you.
To ensure your safety and the safety of those around you as well as to help slow down the spread of COVID, the government has established a set of strict rules and guidelines and are enforcing social distancing until further notice. These vast social changes along with possible financial hardships are just the right 1-2 combo to knock the wind out of you. For some, this may have knocked you off of your feet. Regardless, it is up to you to regroup and get back up. But what does it take to stand back up again? The following 4 tips may give you the boost you need.
- Focus on your basic needs first. Practice safe social distancing. If you need to go out to buy food, wear a mask. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds when you get home. Learn more about how to take proper precautions by going to cdc.gov. Make sure to still eat nutritious food throughout the day, find time to exercise, and get enough sleep at night. To learn more about ways to maximize energy, you can read the following blogs:
Symptoms of anxiety, stress, and, if you are a parent, taking care of children can be extremely draining. Make sure to maximize your energy by focusing on your basic needs. If you don’t maximize your energy, your days will be physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing on you. You will be more likely to lose control of your emotions if you do not care for your basic needs.
2. Develop structure. During the pandemic, it is easy to fall off the tracks of structure. You may go to sleep later, wake up later, take your time getting out of bed in the morning, and skip a meal during the day. The more you fall out of a routine, the more likely you will be impacted physically, mentally, and emotionally. You may become more withdrawn and lose energy and motivation to do things. Create a schedule for you and your family and make sure you keep consistency. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Continue to eat at least 3 meals per day around the same time. Incorporate free time in your days for you and your children so you can change things up a bit. However, the more you stick to a schedule and find structure, the more stable you will feel.
3. Shift your mindset. When emotions deliver a message (thoughts), it doesn’t mean the message is accurate. For example, your anxiety may have delivered a message that the pandemic won’t ever end. If you needed to apply for unemployment and the check didn’t come yet, the emotional message may be that it won’t ever come. Your heart will race, your breathing will be heavy, and your stress and anxiety will spill into your relationships with others. Shift your mindset. Don’t believe every message your emotions deliver. Counter these messages and have a positive mindset. Do what is in your control and what you can to help your situation as well as your family’s. Be persistent and perseverant if necessary. Make sure to breath as you persevere. You will run into obstacles. Find another way. It is there to be found. However, worrisome thoughts will not help you back up from being knocked down. Positive thoughts and energy will.
4. Live for today, plan for tomorrow. You will most likely never get this opportunity again. The world is paused. There is no rush to be anywhere but home with your family. Go outside and play with your children. Make a picnic in your backyard for you and your partner and enjoy some sunlight. Meditate. Practice yoga. Learn how to paint, play a musical instrument, or another skill that will enrich your life. There will be a time when life will be fast paced again. That time isn’t today, tomorrow, or next week. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Tomorrow will eventually come. Be prepared. Discuss a plan with your family for when regulations are loosened. Do all of your family members have access to a mask? What will life look like for you and your family? What will safe socialization look like for you? Start to think about the answers to these questions. Don’t let the COVID pandemic cause you to freeze and do nothing. Take action. A solid plan will help to ease your anxiety and you will be ready for when the time comes.