How are you coping with Coronavirus Outbreak? If you are struggling, you are not alone. This is not normal, and we all have to go easy on ourselves. However, some of us need more than just giving ourselves permission to let some things go right now. Some of us need to take extra measures to make sure our mental health stays in check during this time.
It would be one thing to solely deal with the stress of your entire family having to change every aspect of your lives. However, we have the uncertainty of the Coronavirus outbreak itself. How do I protect myself and family? What can I do to help the health care workers on the front lines? Add to that all of that the uncertainty regarding when this will all end, and it is enough to make even the calmest person anxious.
Working on your mental fitness right now is easier said than done. Most of us parents already had a large amount of stress upon us. Just keeping up with our households while shuttling kids around and working a job was hard enough. Sure, we no longer have to shuttle the kids around, but keeping them entertained without going out and about is a real challenge for many of us. Now, we feel the pressure to keep up with a household that is continuously lived in, a kitchen that is constantly being used as your children tell you “I’m hungry”. Some of us are trying to work from home and must referee sibling wrestling matches while on Zoom calls. Some of us are trying to save our small businesses with little to no time. Why? Because we are now our children’s teachers on top of everything else.
You have likely seen the meme about our grandparents being asked to go to war, and we are just being asked to sit on our couches. The thought of catching up on Netflix series and actually reading a book would be a dream come true, but that is far from reality. Parents would do anything for a nap during social distancing, but we just do not have the time.
Parents are finding they have less time than normal, and honestly, that is the even case when doing the bare minimum during these social distancing days. Of course, there are some parents out there that are rocking it. They are taking advantage of every virtual tour of a park or museum while doodling with Mo Mo Willems at lunch and a Pinterest board dedicated to all of the creative art that they will do with their kids. When you see social media posts, you feel even more anxious. You wonder if you should make a schedule of all of the amazing opportunities your kids have to learn by all of the amazing companies throwing free resources your way, but the thought of making that schedule overwhelms you.
Give yourself Grace. But giving yourself grace is not enough. You need to take some steps to manage the constant pressure you will be under in the coming weeks. For some of you, a prescription may be necessary to bring a sense of calm to this new (temporary) way of life. However, that should not be your first step. There are so other ways to cope with the stress and anxiety that comes with this unprecedented lifestyle we are currently experiencing.
Coronavirus Outbreak Coping Strategies
It is okay to check out for a bit. Just keeping up with the news or maybe a very engaged Facebook group might seem overwhelming at this time. You do not have to do all the things. You will have to let go of things that are not serving you well during this time, and that is okay!
Turn Off The Television
Do not have the cable news stations on all day with constant coronavirus coverage. We know it is out there. We know what we should do to combat it. Stay at home! Wash your hands! It’s okay to get updates throughout the day but do not become obsessed. It will heighten your sense of anxiety and lack of control.
Similarly, do not stream Netflix all day. Accomplish something each day.
Create a Schedule
It does not have to be a strict schedule but have some sense of order to each day. Make the weekdays feel like weekdays and celebrate the weekends. Give yourself things to look forward to. Wine down Wednesdays, Take Out Thursdays, Movie Night Fridays, Sweet Treat Saturday.
You are likely on edge right now, even if you do not realize it. Before blowing up at loved ones, try walking away, even it is just to another room. If the kids are on your last nerve and there is another grown up in the house, go to the next step …
Go for a walk. Go for a run. Get on your bike and explore the area around your home. Mow your lawn. Tend to your garden. Get a projector to play movies in your back yard with your family on movie night.
Happy Hour With Friends
You are probably starting to miss your friends. Set up a time to hang out virtually with them. Facetime a single friend or create a zoom conference call for a group of friends. You need to laugh with your friends. Try to one-up each other with your Coronavirus outbreak trials and tribulations. Another idea is getting up before your family for coffee time with friends. Of course, this would only work with your friends who you do not mind seeing you with no makeup and bedhead!
Have you been meaning to add meditation into your daily routine? There are many benefits to meditating including reducing anxiety. For those new to meditation, you will likely need all the help you can get to be in the right mental space to meditate effectively. Both Headspace and Calm apps are fantastic solutions to learn about meditation. Both apps offer free elements of their program, so there is no need to purchase a paid version while you are testing things out.
Being in and around your house means you are likely not moving like normal. Those of you bending over your kiddos and keeping track of their school work may feel even more strain. Stress in and of itself causes you to carry your body in different ways which affect your muscles. To combat this, try yoga at home to stretch and strengthen your muscles. Making yoga part of your daily routine also comes with the benefit of forcing some time for meditation.
There are YouTube channels and apps that allow you to easily bring yoga into your home. A couple of favorites are Yoga By Adriene on YouTube and the Down Dog app which is currently free through May 1st. Down Dog allows you to tailor your yoga routine to your level and the elements of practice that are more important to you.
There are many health and therapeutic benefits associated with essential oils. There are many essential oils that tout relieving anxiety, but the most popular by far is lavender. There are quite a few mixtures aimed at alleviating anxiety. If you do not own a diffuser, this is a great time to experiment with one. Even if you do not feel that the oils are helping reduce anxiety, at least your house will smell nice since you have to be in it so much right now!
Take an Epsom Salt Bath
A bath is relaxing by nature. Many times we do not take one because we do not have time for it in our crazy schedules. Now, we have nothing but time. Warm water increases your body temperature which helps regulate anxiety. Adding Epsom salt to your bath can help even more because the magnesium sulfate in the salt can calm anxiety and lower blood pressure.
It may sound silly, but flowers have a way of brightening our moods. In fact, a study conducted by Rutgers University found that flowers were found to improve emotional health by triggering feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and social comfortability.
Yale’s Happiness Course
This immensely popular Yale course which is actually titled ‘The Science of Well-Being’ is being offered for free via Coursera. Per the Coursera website, here is what you can expect from this course:
Keep A Gratitude Journal
People dealing with anxiety are more prone to negative thoughts. By documenting what you are thankful for each day, especially now when life is nothing like we’ve experienced before, it helps us stay in a positive, more peaceful state of mind. It is so easy to worry about what we can not control which causes anxiety. When you focus on what you do control and are grateful for, you will feel at peace.
If all else fails, and you need a little extra something, try a natural supplement before getting a prescription. CBD seems to be all the rage right now, it is everywhere. CBD is the part of the cannabis plant that does not give you a high. CBD can be used as an anxiety treatment in a myriad of ways including gummies, tinctures, balms, face masks, and lotions.
You have heard this a lot over the last few weeks, but it has to be said – this too shall pass. Sure, you know that somewhere back in your brain, but it does not feel that way now. Things will be different going forward again, but we will not have to spend the rest of our lives in our homes. It is totally acceptable to feel anxious about the disease, the pressure of being in your home for weeks on end while entertaining and schooling children, explaining Coronavirus to your children, not knowing how long we will live like this, and trying to understand what the world will look like when this is over. However, there is not much you can do right now other than practicing social distancing and washing your hands. If that lack of control has caused anxiety for you, please try some of the above suggestions to help you get through the next few weeks.
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