Protecting our mental health in the Covid-19 era is critical. We can’t show up as the best version of ourselves if we are not in a healthy mental state. With all of the stress and uncertainty of the current world, it can feel like everything is out of our control, but we still have control over our reaction to the situation. The following tips have helped me regain my footing and feel more at ease with the current uncertainty.
1. Find the Positives
In spite of all of the negative realities of the current situation, there are still positive and heart-warming things happening all around us. People are showing their appreciation to front line heath care workers, trash collectors, and teachers. The air quality is improving as people are driving less. Wild animals are reclaiming urban spaces.
There are also positive outcomes resulting from this pandemic that will hopefully continue long after we have returned to normal. Families are realizing that they were too over scheduled and did not have enough time together. People are focusing more on what really matters in life. This crisis is forcing people to strip away everything extra and leave behind only what truly matters.
2. Embrace the Uncertainties
I have always been comfortable with some level of uncertainty. I usually assume things are going to be OK. This pandemic has really tested me in that regard. I have definitely had my moments of distress due to the uncertainty during this crisis. We have a high-risk family member living in our house, our normal routines have been completely upended, and was closed for 15 weeks.
It was easy to fall into a spiral of panic but keeping a routine has helped. Our days have been skewed later due to the kids being out of school and my husband working from home, but I have been trying to get up around the same time every day, help my kids with homeschooling, exercise around the same time, prepare dinner and eat together as a family every night.
What really helped me though, is reminding myself that nothing is ever sure in life and I can only affect what is within my control. I can’t control the mandatory stay-at-home orders, business closures, and the number of people that are becoming sick. I can control my attitude, how I show up for my family, what media I am consuming.
3. Ignore the News
One of the best things that I have done to improve my mental state during this pandemic is to ignore the news and stay off social media as much as possible. I need to be on Facebook for my business, but instead of scrolling through my feed, I go to my business page, post and interact with my customers as needed and then close the window.
For the first few weeks of this crisis, I would grab my phone immediately after waking up and read the latest headlines. Before my feet even hit the floor, I was filling my consciousness with negativity that did not add any value to my days and was completely outside my control. Now instead of immediately opening my phone, I have taken the advice of various mindset experts and I start my day with a mantra. My manta is “I am healthier, more thankful, more loving, and more giving than I was yesterday.” I also take a minute to list the things I am thankful for.
If I need to consume any news, I wait until later in the day, so that my morning is not influenced by negativity. If I need to know something specific, such as the current status of the stay-at-home order my state, then I go to the PA state website and read about it. I am not advocating being completely uninformed, but it can be helpful during high-stress times to limit your news intake most days to only what you need to know. This method of reduced media consumption allows me to choose to see only the information that I need in order to function within the parameters that I can control.
4. Give Where You Can
One of the best ways to break out of a cycle of self-pity is to do something for another person.
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” President Barack Obama
Those that have the means to give can be generous during this time, however giving in non-monetary ways such as giving time, helping a neighbor, or even just offering a kind word or a smile to a stranger in the grocery store can be just as powerful. I have found that people seem to be more kind and patient than usual throughout this quarantine time. People seem to have the attitude that we are all in this together.
5. Know That This Too Shall Pass
This is not a permanent state. Although it may be months away, there will be a time when eventually we will go back to some form of “business as usual.” It may not be exactly like pre-Covid days, but it will be at least recognizable. The pandemic was jarring and stressful, but at some point we will get back to some semblance of normal. Until then I will try to encourage and create positivity in my family and in my community.