Are you usually and anxious person?
Well, even if you are not recent events probably have you feeling a bit on edge.
Whether it is COVID-19 itself or perhaps the loss of a job or wages, people are experiencing a lot of stress recently. Social distancing definitely does not help alleviate any of that stress right now either. We all have worries on our minds right now be it, getting sick, financial strain, or what the future may hold. I totally understand, I have some of those worries myself. What I want to do here is just go over some small things that can help you to cope and take care of yourself.
ONE: Take care of your body.
– Most of us are probably experiencing a lot of extra time at home. How nice was it that first day or two to just sleep in, relax in your PJ’s and maybe catch up on some of your favorite shows? Okay, maybe that wasn’t how it went for you, maybe you tried to clean the whole house and do all the laundry in one day. Either way, you cannot go on like that for long and we must take care of ourselves first and foremost. I know that is probably hard for a lot of people, but you must take care of yourself before you can care for anyone else.
- Get enough sleep.
Seems pretty simple, huh? With no routine to follow for most people, staying up late and/or sleeping in is probably the new normal. Be mindful that you are sleeping an adequate amount each night but not too much either. That is right, too much sleep can make you feel drained and more tired. The recommended amount of sleep for the average adult is 7 to 9 hours.
- Watch what you’re eating.
How many of you didn’t have to worry about lunch each day? Maybe you and your kids ate lunch at work or school every day and never had to worry much about it. Now you’re trying to cook/eat 3 meals a day at home and you’re running out of things you know how to cook. Pizza it is! NO!! Okay, well occasionally ordering pizza or take-out is fine. I’m all for supporting small local restaurants but try to be mindful of what you’re eating. Junk foods and loads of refined sugar can really bring down your mood and your energy.
- Stay Active.
Try to be active for at least 30 minutes a day. If it is a nice day, maybe try to go for a walk or a hike somewhere that makes it easy to maintain the appropriate social distance. Many companies are offering free online workouts during this stressful time, most of them don’t require any equipment at all!
TWO: Take care of your mind.
– Easier said than done with all the added stress and the media coming out with new scary information and numbers every day, right? Wrong. It is the little things that you can do to bring you even just a moment of peace.
- Limit watching the news.
I know that sounds crazy, you want to stay up to date on current events and the latest information to keep you and your family safe. I get it. I’m not saying stop watching the news, just limit the time it is on your TV or time spent reading about it. I feel like I shouldn’t really have to say this, but don’t believe everything you read, hear or see, especially on the internet. Do not go getting your news from Facebook! Double check your information. If you hear something exceptionally scary or concerning, fact check it! Remember that the CDC has a website with a lot of up to date and accurate information about COVID-19.
- Keep a routine.
As with most people, your regular routine has probably gone out the window. No school, no work and no daycares can add a lot of stress you didn’t realize. Try to keep as much of a routine as possible. Try to set a wake-up time and a bedtime and stick to it. I personally like to start my day with making my bed, I know you’ve heard that before and it seems silly, but it makes me feel like no matter what the day brings I have already accomplished something. It is also a good idea to add scheduled screen time (TV, internet, video games, etc.) into a routine, effectively reducing those things while keeping to a schedule.
- Other small things you can do to take care of your mind are:
– Set priorities. If you don’t come out of quarantine with a spotless house and no dirty laundry, who cares?!?! Your priorities are what are important to you, not anyone else.
– Focus on positive thoughts. When you start feeling overwhelmed with all the negative around us right now. Stop. Take a deep breath. Think about the positives in your life, what you are thankful for, it doesn’t matter how small it may be. (Today I am thankful that my dog woke me up at 730am because my alarm was off, oops. I am thankful that the sun is out, even if it isn’t 75 and sunny. I am really thankful to this cup of coffee for turning me into a morning person today.) That stuff probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but it doesn’t have to and that is the beauty of it.
– Stay busy. This one kind of ties into set priorities. Stay busy but do not overwhelm yourself. Set small achievable goals for each day and at the end of the day review what you were able to accomplish. If you didn’t get everything done, oh well! Start tomorrow off with those items and be thankful for what you were able to do.
THREE: Social distancing does not mean social isolation!
– Just because you need to be social distancing does not mean you cannot be social. Call a friend or family member, or if you’re more of a text person do that! Initiate a video chat with a friend or set up a Zoom meeting of a group of friends. Technology is amazing and can be a wonderful tool to help us feel connected.
Last but absolutely not least. Be Kind.
Be kind to others and be kind to yourself. People are going through a lot these days, and even if they look put together on the outside they may be falling apart on the inside. With having to wear masks everywhere now, it is harder than ever to offer a friendly smile to a stranger who may desperately need it. So smile with your words. A simple hello can go so far with someone who is feeling cut off and isolated. Be kind to that grocery store worker who is exposed to so many people each day but needs that job, it isn’t their fault the store sold out of toilet paper.
And perhaps most importantly, be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break and remember to find time for you.
Stop. Take a deep breath. Carry on. We are going to get through this!