MENTAL HEALTH AND COVID
There’s been a shift in our normal routine, our relationships, ourselves since mid-March 2020. Never could we have imagined our lives so greatly impacted by the Covid-19 virus.
But in the middle of it all, as always happens, good things can be found.
1. Structure – Keep a consistent schedule. If you work from home, get up and get ready to work at the same time you did when you went into your company office. Same routine is a way to feel stability when the world feels chaotic.
2. Predictability – Find things that you can count on. Life these days cause us to ask when will we be back to normal? When can we gather and go to concerts, fly on vacation, enjoy Nana and Pop’s wedding anniversary with our large family? Planning things to do are important. Our healthy minds want and need predictable things to count on in times of uncertainty.
3. Sense of control – Why do you think you find yourself with the cleanest house you’ve had in years? You’re cleaning out closets? Painting the kid’s bedrooms like you’ve wanted to for years? Find it a bit easier to stay on your new eating plan? That’s because in times where we feel we have no control, we find things that give us a sense of control. Not controlling in an extreme way but in balance.
4. Reminder of our purpose – This may be a new thing for you of asking the age-old question of ‘why am I here?’ We need reminders of our purpose, whatever that is. What role do you have in your life that brings you as sense of satisfaction of purpose?
5. Familiar surroundings around us – What makes you feel better when you see it? Baby pictures of the kids? Cooking Aunt Sue’s dinner rolls? Anything that brings good memories to your thoughts is a good way to feel good.
1. Social media – While social media connection can be wonderful, you may have experienced how stressful, anxious creating, even anger triggering social media can be. Consider taking breaks from your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts. If that seems difficult for you, do it in baby steps, one evening a week, and stretch the time to a couple of times a week, perhaps even whole weekends. I know someone who every month takes what he calls “Social Sabbatical” one weekend out of the month. He reports it has made a significant improvement in his quality of life without all the “noise” in his thoughts.
2. News media – The intensity of news reports can be experienced often these days. Yes, we should be informed, yes, we should be aware of the latest on keeping ourselves, spouse, children, our family, safe. But be keenly aware when the information triggers your anxiety and fears and adjust accordingly.
3. Limit your conversations laced with negativity, fear and ‘the sky is falling’. Studies have shown that for every negative thing we say, it requires 5 positive statements to balance the impact of negativity.
Make sure to include these in your routine:
2. Eating healthy
3. Find a new hobby
4. Family cooking or game night each week
5. Family quiet time together. This may be a spiritual/devotional time or even picking a book and have family reading time.
6. Comfort your children. As a parent it’s difficult to give to our children what we don’t give to ourselves. Comfort and gentle words of affirmation, of reassurance and speaking that relationships and love come before anything else we may be fearful of.