COVID-19 has been a challenge for all of us. It has changed so many things about our lives: the way we interact with our friends & family, the way we work (or no longer work), the way our kids attend school and even our daily routines. Most of us have never experienced a pandemic and the change, fear and loneliness that it brings. Some have lost loved ones and have had to cope with the loss in isolation. These are difficult, uncertain times.
How are you keeping it together during COVID?
After some trial and error, I have realized that human connection, getting exercise & fresh air and remembering to take a quiet moment to breathe or journal helps me maintain my sanity. When I feel myself getting anxious or stir-crazy, simply stepping outside and going for a walk does wonders for my racing mind. So does picking up the phone and calling my parents, siblings or a friend. That said, there have definitely been days where I've totally lost it with my 5-year-old son or husband, or turned to less healthy options, like food, for comfort. When that happens, though, I try to apologize to my loved ones and remind myself that I am doing the best I can under the circumstances. As one of my best friends says, "this is a frigging pandemic!"
I also think coping with COVID looks different for each of us. In some ways I think it has magnified our unhealthy habits: junk food, alcohol, TV and scrolling on our phones. But I think it has also pushed us to connect with each other in new ways. Before COVID, I had never met some of my neighbors. Now we are close with many of them and have spent numerous evenings social distancing on their lawns. I have also used online platforms to reconnect with old friends, and my son and I have had fun sending snail mail to friends and family!
If you are still trying to figure out how to keep it together during the pandemic, you are not alone. I think many of us are in survival mode, and that is perfectly okay. If you are at the point where you are looking for healthier ways to cope with stress and the "new normal" of COVID, I encourage you to think about the healthy habits you used to enjoy before the pandemic and try to incorporate them into your day. If you used to enjoy yoga class, try a yoga video, or join a "live" yoga session online. If you used to walk to work, try squeezing in a quick walk before you jump on your computer in the morning. If you used to go to a book club once a month, try making it a virtual meetup. If incorporating your old habits into your day just isn't possible, think about what makes you happy or brings a smile to your face, and try to do more of those things. Maybe it's sending a joke to a friend or having a cup of your favorite tea. These things will be different for all of us - so do whatever works for you.
If dealing with the pandemic feels overwhelming and you would like some help figuring out how to cope and thrive during this time, please reach out. I hope you & your family stay safe and healthy.