Remember in February and March when we didn't think that COVID-19 would get the bad where we live? That was fun, right? Ignorance really is bliss. In a way I'm glad I didn't really know what was coming as I simply would have worried about things far beyond my control. As we settle into our new reality, I thought it would be helpful to share some do's and don'ts for how to get through this time.
WHAT EXTRA TIME?
If one more person (I'm looking at you Rosseta Stone emails and social media) tells me one more time that I have so much extra time on my hands I might scream. The truth is, while I may have a little extra time it is not that I have a lot more energy. In fact, the stress and uncertainty is really draining. So please do not start to tell yourself stories about how you have a ton of time that you are just wasting.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness..."
The stress, the fear, the loss, the uncertainty is going to bring out the best and worst in us all. We can see that in random acts of kindness and in petty arguments. We can feel it in ourselves and we may struggle to not lose our patience with people. What could be more normal? Even those among us who are not control freaks, are losing autonomy and the ability to move about freely.
Be compassionate with yourself
None of us were supposed to know how to do this so it's ok that it has been difficult and an adjustment. The best way to be compassionate with others is to start with yourself.
Get a routine
I can’t stress this enough, having a routine is soooo important to have a semi-normal existence right now. It may take some experimentation to get it right but it will make things feels so much better and easier when you do. And yes, it will have to change when all this is over. But for today, that is the only day you can deal with, create a routine. We can worry about later when it gets here.
Find things to look forward to
It doesn't matter how big or small that thing is... virtual coffee with a friend, a movie you decide to rent/download, an art project, a walk on a nice day. It doesn't matter, find something and be intentional about it.
Just be around
I feel like people are getting a little burnt out on all the Zoom meetings and, FaceTime'ing and Google Hangouts.... Part of that is because most of us are talking to screens all day so the idea of yet another screen is a little exhausting. Part of what a lot of us are missing is just sharing space with other humans... well, mostly just the ones we like. So instead of planning a FaceTime to talk maybe just have it on while you read and the other person cooks or goes about their day. Maybe you talk and maybe you don't but it could help feel like you're in their presence again that would feel good.
You can stay away outside
Especially since the weather is getting a bit better, go OUTSIDE. Stay 6 feet away from people you aren't sheltering with but go for a walk, read in the grass. Better yet, bring a folding chair to your friend's drive way and talk, see each other in real life.
Enough bad news
There is an expression in the news, "if it bleeds, it leads." Media outlets are going to show us as much bad news as they can because that is what gets them ratings. TURN. IT. OFF. You can read then news (the news- not social media) online from a trusted media source, you do not need to watch the constant stream of negativity. At this point most of it is speculation instead of new and useful facts.
Butterfly to manage
HERE is a link to a short video that will walk you through an at-home EMDR technique. This is perfect for overwhelming feelings of panic and/or anxiety. It is not designed to deal with old traumas but it is great for something that happened earlier in the day or week. It is also a good way to decompress for particularly stressful working conditions.
This will not last forever
We have all lost something to COVID-19. For some of us it is a loved one, a job, a home, time with family members, graduations, proms, trips, birthdays, weddings, etc. This has been a time of total upheaval and it is easy to get carried away in a tide of all that we have lost. But this will not last forever and in the meantime to keep taking care of ourselves so that we are ready to fully recover when this is over.
As always, I’m here. If you are ready to work on having the life you want, call me and let’s get started!