If you’re reading this, you are probably in the middle of a ‘shelter-in-place’ order day 10 or so. It’s incredible how one day you’re living your life, planning to stand by your friend as she marries the love of her life and the next day you are required to stay in your home to protect your family and your neighbor with no clear end in sight.
How we even got here is hard to explain. I’ve been following the news closely over the last couple of months, almost too closely which is why my anxiety has been through the roof. It has been a challenge to follow the stream of events to stay informed, while also keeping my zen especially while managing a toddler who is full of energy. We’ve officially lost the privilege to go to music class, library story time or even to the park. And those are the simple, enjoyable things we can do. Many of our healthcare workers have lost the privilege to see their families, get a break while working or even the protection of a mask at this point. If you’re paying attention, which I really hope you are, these are some extreme times and I am not here to sugar coat it for you.
However, I do believe we are country of strong individuals who will prosper through difficult times, even times like these. It’s uncertain how this will truly play out and we have zero control over that. We can only control our actions and how we handle the circumstances given to us in this moment. Though I struggle everyday between breaking down on my knees and crying about it all and grabbing a tambourine to play with my son so he doesn’t feel my pain. Either way, I know I must pick up and carry on. We must all carry on in the best way we can for our families and for the people who are risking their lives to save others. It’s the least we can do while staying home and helping prevent the spread of this disease, Covid-19.
While we all have our own struggles, I have found a few things that have helped me move along this path, to keep my anxiety at bay and to stay hopeful. I hope they will help you too.
- Meditate and exercise daily- Maybe you have never meditated and it’s never felt good. Now is the time to try it. Start off slow. Find a quiet place for ten minutes. Close your eyes and just focus on your breathe. It will be difficult at first but, with time and practice, it does get easier. Then, move your body mindfully and with intention. It could be a dance sesh by yourself to your favorite Lizzo song or a yoga flow you found online or just go for a run or walk. Just move.
- Get ready for the day- This is one I took for granted when I first had my son. It makes a huge difference if you stay in pjs all day without showering or if you wash your face and put on some clothes you like. It makes you feel normal and motivated to actually do something for the day. Yes, it is appealing to lounge in pjs for a day but I promise it gets really depressing after a while.
- Nourish your body- The best thing you can do right now is feed your body the nutrients it needs to fight any illness that might come it’s way. Yes, it sounds great to eat chocolate and drink wine all day but, your body needs more. Still enjoy some wine and chocolate, as I definitely do, just make sure to fuel up with lots of veggies and tons of water as well.
- Limit your news and social media intake- This is so challenging for me. I am consumed by everything I read right now. I want to know everything that is happening in real time. However, the more I know, the more powerless I feel. I can’t change what’s happening or how other people are responding. I can only limit how much I consume though. It doesn’t benefit anyone to watch the news all day. Whatever happens tonight at 10 pm tonight will still be talked about tomorrow at 9 am. So, I wait to check the news only a few times after I have had breakfast and before I eat dinner. I let my mind wake up and rest before digesting it all.
- Rest- Seriously, no matter what your situation is right now, you need more rest. Either your sheltering at home, which includes the unknown, a new work-space or current children activities which are all stressful and exhausting. Or you’re on the front lines facing the disease head on by working at a grocery store or a health care professional, just praying you don’t get sick. It’s stressful. Your body and mind need rest. Take it as you can.
There are other great things you can do right now, like help others in some way. You can reach out to the people you know who might need their groceries bought for them, or might need to talk. You could donate blood. You could make masks. You could pray.
Whatever it may be, allow it to help you help us. Allow it to keep your spirit lifted and your hope alive so that you can be someone to lean on in this time of crisis. It’s only going to get worse before it gets better, so we should start building our mental strength now. We can do more together and united, than apart and divided.
Most importantly, Please stay home. If you can’t do any if these things, at least do this for yourself and your community.