When the COVID-19 pandemic began , it felt scary — but also temporary. Realistic or not, many of us were optimistic that this whole thing would be behind us by this point in 2020.
Spoiler alert: It’s not. And as the crisis drags on, so does the frustration. People are feeling frustrated, stressed and, in some cases, depressed about the future.
How can you deal with the terrible realization that we’re in this for the long haul? It’s a tough pill to swallow, but these five strategies can help you find some stress relief.
Take (some) control. We like it when things are in our control. We can’t wave a magic wand and make the coronavirus disappear, but we can focus on the things we have some power over — even if it’s just what time you go to bed each night.
Make a list of the things you can control and put your energy toward those things.
Be in the present. Imagining what the world will look like in six months, a year, a decade? It’s a recipe for worry.
If you think too far down the line, it’s easy to get overwheled. Take it one day at a time. Adopting a mindfulness practice can help you stay in the moment.
Stop comparing. A lot of the sadness people are feeling comes from what they’re missing. Zoom happy hours don’t compare to last year’s ladies’ weekend. But thinking about what you’re missing prevents you from seeing what’s good in your life.
Some of the grief you’re feeling may come from comparing the present moment to the past. If you just look at what happened today, it might not be so bad.
Keep moving forward. It can feel like you’re stuck in a holding pattern. People are holding their breath, waiting for whatever is coming next. But we shouldn’t put our lives on pause.
You may not be traveling the world or going to parties, but you can take up gardening, adopt a pet or start a weekly picnic tradition with your kids. Continue to live and grow and use this time to find ways to enjoy yourself.
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Take a break from decisions. The coronavirus has upended a lot of our routines. We’ve had to get used to sanitizing and mask-wearing, working remotely and finding new ways to stay in touch with loved ones.
Figuring out all those new habits is exhausting. Give your brain a break by making things as routine as possible. Keep a mask in your bag, so you don’t have to look for it when you head out the door. If it’s routine, it’s not as mentally taxing.Find silver linings. Yes, you might have to look really hard, but focusing on the positive can help you move forward each day.
Maybe working from home means you don’t have to deal with traffic. Or you’re spending more time with family. Or you’re simply grateful for your good health. The way we think about a situation can be a help or a hindrance..Look at this as an opportunity to find the positives.