I know that many of us are feeling deeply the effects of COVID-19 on not only our country and communities, but in the home. I remember thinking when this all began that Quarantine wouldn't be the worst thing that we are asked to do so save lives, and I still feel that way, but that doesn't mean that more than a month later, we are not beginning to feel a little stir-crazy. Many people are not working at all, and being stuck in home all day may sound great to a teenager, but to adults it can put unseen stressors on your mind and body. On the flip side, many people are working much more and in high-risk environments, and my heart goes out to them for their sacrifice of time and safety to help others. It takes great strength to see through what we are living right now, and I believe that applies to each and every person. We will get through this, and here are just some ideas for all communities to remember when you are feeling as though you are out of control.
1. Maintain a routine. This may seem too simple, but structure is important. Get plenty of rest, get up, shower, get dressed, and write down five things you are grateful for. Then pursue a manageable list of activities and tasks on weekdays. Commit to accomplishing a few things, then relax.
2. Weekends are for relaxing. Even for those of us who are stuck home all day, there is a time for a working and a time to play. Do not expect yourself to get everything done and stick to a strict routine every day of the week. Save the weekends for relaxing, enjoying yourself, and taking it easy.
3. Connect with friends and family safely on a virtual app. Just because you are responsible and taking action to quarantine, this does not mean you are not allowed to socialize. It just looks a little different than usual. Isolation can be hard on a person's mind, after all, humans are not built to be solitary creatures and we will often crave the presence or voices of others when we need comfort. Remember that your family, friends, and loved ones can be there with you whether they are physically close or not.
4. Stay informed with actual facts. Listen to the medical experts like the World Health Organization, the CDC, and trained public health experts and epidemiologists. Be open to real information that helps you assess the real risks so you can maintain the health and safety of yourself and others. Knowing how to spot and avoid false information can be helpful in reducing stress as I know we are all receiving a lot of conflicting or rapidly changing news every day. Remember to trust, but verify and make the best decision based on your own findings.
5. Do not overwhelm yourself with information that can induce stress and anxiety. Get your information in moderation. Too much pandemic news can be overwhelming to people of any age or stage in their life. This goes hand-in-hand with our last point, remember not to let yourself get bogged down in too many facts each day, space out the time you look into changes. Things are happening fast out there, but information and orders can often change in minutes rather than days.
The stresses associated with COVID-19 and social distancing are substantial and may be long-lasting. But we are in this together for the long haul. And those persistent, pervasive thoughts and emotions going through your mind and running around in your chest and stomach? It’s not just you. Everyone is experiencing some degree of worry and upset, and it’s not taboo to talk about those thoughts and feelings. Let’s provide social support to one another as we complete this marathon together.
We'll see you on the other side of the finish line. :)
-The close by me Team