To state the obvious: daily life is hard during a pandemic. We are all going through something unique and unprecedented in our lives, and our individual experiences are layered and varied.
You may be working from home for the first time, or trying to homeschool children (or at least keep them occupied) all day. You may be alone more than ever before, or surrounded by a lot of people. You may be struggling to keep up, looking for work, or missing out on meaningful celebrations like a wedding or graduation. You may even be putting your life on the line to care for patients or to provide an essential service.
It’s a lot to handle. If we aren’t intentional about our mental and emotional state each day, we can easily find ourselves panicked, burned out, and feeling like we’ve been hit by a ton of bricks.
So how do we take care of ourselves during a time like this? We’ve pulled together some ideas and resources for how to stay mentally and emotionally afloat during the developing coronavirus pandemic.
Read reputable news sources and limit your intake.
When our days are a steady stream of news updates and notifications, it’s no wonder we’re feeling stressed out and anxious. Check the news only once or twice a day, and commit to reading about COVID-19 updates from trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization, or local public health and government officials. See if your local representatives send out a newsletter or digest of the latest guidelines. You’ll still be informed on the latest updates, without the extra noise.
Remember that you are one person, but you’re not alone.
Stopping COVID-19 is truly a community effort, and we all have our role to play. You can have an incredible impact by contributing to community health by staying home and looking out for those who are vulnerable within your community. Do your part to help and lift others up with creativity and resourcefulness. With that said, realize that you can’t possibly bear the weight of this pandemic on your own.
Don’t start a new hobby, unless you really want to.
When quarantine life began, what came next was an explosion of bread-baking tutorials, articles touting lists of home organization projects, and the general idea that we should be maximizing and optimizing this extra time at home. A few weeks in, many of us are realizing we overestimated our ability to do all these things. So what to do? We’re not going to encourage you to be lazy or not to make the most of your time. But we are going to say, ease up on yourself. Lose whatever social pressure you feel to come out of quarantine with an entire bag of new tricks.
Sleep, eat well, exercise.
The big three – adequate sleep, good nutrition, and regular exercise – are recommended areas of focus in times of stress. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, skip the screens before bed, eat well, and get moving. That could be outdoors (maintaining local social distancing guidelines, of course) or in your home. There are many resources on each of these topics, so we’ll just leave a few for you here.
5) Stay connected. While many of us are physically apart, it’s important for us to stay connected, help each other, share a laugh, and remind each other that there are still many good things in the world. Reach out to your loved ones when you need a check-in, and/or find a therapist or counselor who you can talk with about your experience. Many practices are able to offer virtual services, which you may find helpful during this time.
We’d love to hear of other ways you’re caring for yourself these days. Share your thoughts in the comments.