Hello, everyone. I hope you are staying safe and healthy through this transition. Personally, I am fortunate to be staying with my sister and her family in Virginia, and have a great space to live and work. This transition has not been easy, and I want to recognize that if you, like myself, are struggling right now, that is okay. And I’m proud of you for clicking on this blog post to take steps to better your health right now.
With that said, I compiled some information and resources from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) US News and World Report, and my personal ideas on how we can take care of ourselves during this time.
CDC: Coping and Managing Stress/Anxiety During Crisis
The following information is taken directly from the CDC website’s statement on coping with stress and anxiety:
Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
Things you can do to support yourself
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditateexternal icon. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugsexternal icon.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
US News: Protecting your Family’s Mental Health during COVID
The following tips are excerpted from a US News and World Report’s article:
- Resist the urge to treat this time as a vacation
2. Create a schedule for yourself and your children for each day.
3. Your family’s schedule should include physical activity
4. Limit your family’s exposure to news.
5. Use technology for social interaction. Don’t retreat from social interaction – regular phone and video chatting with close friends and family is important for mental health. Even young children can and should video chat with grandparents, friends and cousins.
6. Starting Now, Make Plans Only for the Very Near Future – About Three Days. People are experiencing an enormous amount of anxiety because they aren’t sure what will happen a week or a month from now. A temporary but important shift in mindset can significantly alleviate this anxiety.
6. Know Anxiety or Depression Could Get Worse. Significant life stress, social isolation or the current unpredictability in the world could exacerbate anxiety or cause a resurgence in those who have experienced it in the past. This is true for children, teens and adults who struggle with anxiety disorders. The risk for depression is particularly high for teens and young adults, especially when they feel isolated from their friends. If you believe you have a child who is at risk for depression, keep a close eye on them and seek help if necessary.
My Experience and Advice ❤
During this time, I have experienced an increase in anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout. When in a time of instability, I know that my personal response is to over-do it. I overwork myself as a means to avoid the situation at hand. I calculated my work time last week, and I worked over 55 hours within a single week between school, my two jobs, and my business. That’s insane. I am working every day on trying to slow down, be mindful, and take care of myself. Not having physical separation between work and personal time has made it way too easy for me to work from waking to sleeping.
While this is my experience, you may have the opposite. I know some of my friends and clients have been having trouble being productive at all while at home. Please know, however you are responding to this situation, you are not wrong. Everyone has a different response to crisis. The absolute best and, really, only thing you can do is be mindful about what your response is, and work toward creating balance in your daily life. Here are some ways I’ve been creating balance:
- Moving around. I have 2-3 areas that are conducive to work in the house I’m living in, and it helps me a lot to rotate between these during the work day. If you can move around, I recommend you do.
- Being active. Taking time to do yoga and take a walk daily makes me feel so much better. I strongly recommend taking up yoga if you haven’t tried it. It’s an easy way to move and stretch at home. I recommend Yoga with Adriene for beginners. She has a monthly calendar you can follow along with, and challenge yourself to do as many days in a row as possible!
- Keeping up with friends. Check in with everyone you care about periodically. If you can, schedule a quick call or, even better, video chat. Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and just chat like you would in person. We shouldn’t miss out on valuable connections just because we aren’t together; that’s what are phones were made for!
- Reach out if you need help. Don’t be afraid to contact your friends, your advisers, and your professors if you need a little extra support. People are very understanding right now, and authority figures especially like deans and professors want to help you.
Again, please stay safe and healthy.
Sending love and good vibes to all,