These are indeed challenging times. We are hard-wired to connect with others, even introverts and we definitely all do better with a sense of control and certainty. Here are a couple of ideas to keep in mind to make the Covid-19 outbreak easier:
C – CONTROL
- Look for aspects that you CAN control in your life.
- Deciding how often you go out, taking precautions when you do go out, practicing physical distancing, wearing gloves and masks if you choose, adapting your work to make virtual formats successful, and planning what your grocery shopping will look like.
- Think of this as “covering off the basics” and look for a sense of empowerment.
- There are always choices to make, sometimes these choices are limited, but they are there and we need to find them and find some sense of control.
C – CREATIVITY
- Resilience will increase when you find creativity and adaptability in making the most of your time. What can you do now when you are “stuck” at home, Can we reframe the “stuck” to “opportunity”?
- Reorganizing your home? – purging what you no longer use, cleaning out stuffed cupboards or closets or files (hard to begin this, usually takes less time than we think and we feel great afterwards … like exercise),
- More time for baking or cooking? – taking time to thoughtfully look through recipes and taking our time as we bake,
- More family or a couple time? – getting creative to plan fun activities or dates – games, puzzles, painting, zoom/house party/Netflix extender parties/ romantic living room picnics.
- Create rituals– Spa Sundays, Baking Thursdays. Make sure there is a variety.
- Expose yourself to light whether you work by a window or go outside at least 1 x / day.
- Get creative with your exercise plan by finding yoga videos, new circuit training videos even without equipment.
C – COMPASSION
- We need to find a balance between creating a clear structure and routine as best we can for our sleeping, eating, school or work, and exercise and being understanding of our self. (These are difficult times.)
- Self-prescribed schedules require self-discipline and a lot of us lose motivation when we are overwhelmed with this loss of control and uncertainty, so if you slip up on the routines, try not to shame yourself. (This will only demotivate you further.)
- Find a way to talk to yourself gently and with compassion “OK, that day didn’t go as planned!” … do your best to get back on track the next day, or pick 2-3 things you really want to do every day and use STRONG positive self-talk to force yourself to do them: “Just do it, I’ll feel better if I do it.”
- Use music with exercise to pump up the energy. Watch what type of food you bring into the house and choose to limit the snacks/week. Knowing there will be slip-ups; pick priorities, and get back on track with a gentle voice to yourself.
- This is about your relationship with yourself, your self-worth and your ability to use this crisis time to show yourself some unconditional love.
- If you are overworked in this Covid-19 time, be sure you look for ways to BALANCE and pace to ensure you are not burning out.
C – CUP HALF FULL
- It is important to have an internal gratitude script. Depression and anxiety fueled by catastrophic or shaming thinking can snowball easily, and worsen symptoms.
- Be on the lookout for these negative thoughts and be prepared to challenge or replace them. I am not suggesting we candy coat the situation, but I do know that we can find some good things in our lives, we can find things that COVID-19 can’t steal from us, we can find ways of thinking about this that reassures us that this is not permanent, and those are worth thinking about, giving these more positive thoughts more air time than the negative and reaching for some sense of peace.
- These times are forcing us to slow down and that is usually a good thing. It’s better if we choose than be forced into it, but if we are here, what can we do CAPITALIZE on the slow?:
- Meditate, rest, journal and be on the lookout for the good in our lives, in our relationships, in our work and in our self-care.
Reach out for help if you are actively grieving a loss in your life, are experiencing any reactivated or current trauma or high-risk symptoms.
Karen Goslin, MSW RSW