“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty’ – Brene Brown. Uncertainty can be really challenging for so many of us, and is only exacerbated now due to the coronavirus. This is why we believe misinformation we find in the media, because there’s more comfort when we “know” something (even if it’s bad), than when we know nothing. However, we must realize that the power of finding comfort in times of uncertainty is actually within us. It is not about trying to locate the most reliable and accurate news source. When we turn towards self-trust, we unlock our ability to have faith in believing that no matter what happens, we will find a way through it.
1. Normalize. The most important thing we can do is cut ourselves some slack. If you’re having a difficult time being in quarantine or dealing with the stay-at-home order and you find yourself ruminating in the uncertainty of what’s to come, you are not alone. What we are going through now is something that none of us could have prepared for. We all process through hardship differently, and I want to be sure to normalize that however you choose to process is ok. Some are finding that staying really busy is helpful, while others seem to be resting more than usual. Regardless, do what feels right for you, because there is no right or wrong.
2. Rest. Whether it’s the stress of losing a job, added parental responsibilities (i.e. teaching), spending an abundance of time with your significant other, or being by yourself during this time, exhaustion may be catching up to you. As we try to adapt to all of these new norms, it is important that we listen to our mind and body and allow ourselves time to slow down. If you are processing through this time by keeping yourself busy, that’s fine; however, it is essential that you become aware if you begin to crave a few minutes of rest. For others, your life may have not slowed down at all, so it is critical that if you have a partner, the two of you are intentional in giving one another a window of time to decompress if needed.
3. Set an intention for the day. I think I speak for us all when I say the days are beginning to blend together. It can be challenging to find motivation in times of stress and worry. If you find yourself struggling to focus or get things done, perhaps try to start your day by identifying one specific intention. Setting one small goal a day can help provide you with a sense of accomplishment, which can be uplifting in times of stagnancy and uncertainty. Give yourself praise and recognize your small victories! Do not put added and unneeded pressure on yourself.
4. Limit your news/media exposure and social media use. Every second there is a new update about the coronavirus from various news sources either updating the death toll or speculation on how long quarantine will last. We must be mindful of our media exposure, and regulate how much we consume for the sake of our mental health. Further, many of us may be finding ourselves spending more time on social media than usual. Please be aware of your scrolling–if you find that social media apps are making you feel worse or taking up too much time, go to your settings and set limits on how much time you are allowed to browse.
5. Practice self-soothing strategies. If you are feeling anxious/stressed during this time, try inhaling through your nose for 4 seconds – holding your breath for 7 – and exhaling through your mouth for 8. Another great way to calm your mind is to “brain dump,” which involves grabbing a notebook, jotting down how you feel, and writing down any ruminating thoughts you may be experiencing. Many of us think that pushing those thoughts aside will eventually make them go away; however, the opposite is actually true. Furthermore, meditation can also be extremely effective in reducing stress and anxiety. You can locate many helpful guided meditations on YouTube, Spotify, and the podcast app simply by searching “meditation.”
6. Find a healthy distraction. Along with implementing some self-soothing strategies, it is also beneficial to engage in a distracting/de-stressing activity as well. Exercise can be a great activity that also aids in regulating your mood by releasing dopamine and serotonin. Completing a puzzle or reading a book can also serve as a healthy distraction while we’re staying at home. Additionally, another way to take your mind off of the coronavirus may involve learning a new language or dance, or focusing your attention on cleaning/organizing/rearranging your home.
7. Connection and support. As humans, we are wired to connect. In the time of a pandemic and needing to stay in our home and physically distancing when we’re out can take a toll on our mental health. Due to many of us experiencing heightened feelings of stress, anxiety, sadness, and fear, it is important that we take advantage of the opportunities that we do have (i.e. phone call, FaceTime) and reach out to friends, family, and maybe even our co-workers that we used to frequently see as a way to establish some normalcy. Remember, you are not alone! Additionally, do not hesitate to reach out if you are in need of emotional support during this time.
I am here to help you and I am offering telehealth services now! If you need someone to talk to, a safe space to process, and some coping strategies, feel free to reach out to me at (312) 219-5721 or email me at Hollie@relationshipreality312.com