2020 has been off to quite a rough start. To say anything has been easy these last 4 months would be more than a lie. The coronavirus/COVID-19 has caused a pandemic across the world and we all are currently feeling the effects of it. In Illinois we are coming up on a full month of quarantine and social distancing. Social distancing is what the government officials and medical professionals are recommending to help slow the spread of this virus. However, social distancing and the idea of this virus is increasing anxiety, depression and other mental health symptoms in people. Whether you deem yourself an introvert or extrovert, people are social beings and we aren’t made to do life alone!
Although we are practicing social distancing (and better hygienic practices) how can we manage our current fears/anxieties surrounding the coronavirus? Well lets take a look at these tips!
- Limit news/social media consumption- news outlets across the world are reporting on the coronavirus daily! It has made its way to from our tv screens to our smartphones and social media platforms. Being inundated with so much information (good or bad) increases stress. Ask yourself this, why should I continue to feed my soul information that doesn’t bring me peace? Commit to limiting how many times you watch the news/engage with social media per week.
- Set firm boundaries with family/friends- when you speak to your loved ones and the topic of conversation seems to only be about the coronavirus; lovingly tell them you are aware of the current state of the world and during this time you don’t wish to discuss the topic any further. It may come as a shock but after all you have to protect your spirit and mental well being!
- Keep your daily routine the same- during a time of uncertainty we need consistency! Despite a monkey wrench being thrown in our normal day to day routines there are some things that can remain the same. Continue to rise and go to bed around the same time. Continue to take daily showers/baths, throw on lounge wear, eat healthy and remain hydrated. Doing this will allow you to still have a sense of control in your life.
- Journal/practice gratefulness- it’s easy to point out all the negatives in the world right now. However shifting your thought process can work wonders! Thoughts impact how you feel and how you feel impacts how you behave. Change how you think! Write down everything you are currently grateful for big or small!
- Check in with family/friends- if you are practicing social distancing alone or if you are with family continue to check in with each other. Video chat, call, text , drive by their house and wave! Hearing a familiar voice is always soothing.
- Free resources- I’m always looking for free resources to help others in their time of need. Here are a few resources to look into. OAK (meditating and breathing) is an app in the Apple Store/Google Play store where you can practice mindfulness and deep breathing exercise to help ease your anxiety/depression. The Nike App is currently offering premium workouts for free! This is a great time to keep your body moving. If you are still working ask your employer about EAP services. Through your employer’s EAP program can you receive free, confidential short term counseling. If you are interested in speaking with a therapist, contact your medical insurance providers to find therapists that are in your network. Some therapists offer pro bono (free) short term sessions or sliding scale services. Just ask!
*If your current mental state requires more attention please utilize the following resources:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255. If you are currently in the home and experiencing domestic violence please contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 or the hotline.org *
I hope you find these tips helpful. Remember we are fighting through this together. When outside opens back up…take it all in! Appreciate it a little more. Hug your family and friends a little tighter, say hi to your neighbors, be kind to teachers and tip your service workers a little extra (we know you miss them) !
Until then, be kind to yourself.
Pear Nova x Takeya Monique