We’ve all been through an incredibly stressful 2020, and although there is a light at the end of the tunnel, we still need to focus on remaining vigilant, while taking good care of ourselves and others.
Here are five quick tips to keep in mind as we continue to navigate a world with Covid.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
Find aspects of your daily routines that you can continue to follow and build in new routines that make you happy. You might, for example, set aside time each day to do something that you’ve wanted to do but felt you didn’t have the time before, like learning a new language, reading a novel, or cleaning out all of your closets.
Do your best to let go of things that you can’t control, like other people’s reactions and behaviors, the special events that you and others have and will miss during this time, and any judgement about the very real feelings that this brings up for you and others.
Try to focus on a bigger picture perspective to help get through these disappointments.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS
Give yourself some grace in these trying times. You are not likely to be at your best, and that’s completely OK.
Try to get plenty of sleep, eat well, and practice whatever type of self-care helps you to lower stress. Be willing to give that same level of grace and patience to others.
Everyone responds differently to this level of stress and uncertainty. Give yourself and others space to deal with this crisis, and actual space to reduce the spread. There is a quote circulating in Italy that says “We’re standing far apart now so we can embrace each other later.”
LIMIT NEWS INTAKE/AVOID INFORMATION OVERLOAD
While it’s important to stay informed, too much information (especially if it’s from a variety of sources and the information is conflicting) can create unnecessary stress. It’s best to stick with a few reliable sources and to limit the number of times you read, listen to or watch the same information.
Try adopting a schedule for checking in with these sources and try to stick to that schedule each day. Constant news consumption will do more to fuel your anxiety.
While we might be physically apart, it’s important to stay in touch with friends and family.
In addition to staying connected through phone calls, texts and video conferencing, you can also start a virtual book club or discussion group, play online games, call or video chat with friends while taking virtual tours together of museums, national parks and more from Google Arts and Culture, tune in to live-streamed concerts together, watch movies together, or just plan to meet neighbors outside at a safe distance at the same time each day.
FIND WAYS TO EXERCISE OR JUST TAKE A WALK
Really feeling the burnout? Get moving.
Staying active can help relieve stress and manage your mood. While the gym and group classes may be out, you can still hike, bike, or walk outside. There are many exercises you can do with minimal or no equipment, including yoga and bodyweight workouts. Check out YouTube tutorials for tips. Social exercise tracking apps like Strava can also help keep you motivated.
Of course, if you’re really struggling, don’t go it alone. Seek counseling, consult with your healthcare provider, or at least reach out to a friend for support.