Brent Woods, MA, LPC
Coping with Corona
It is obvious now we are in the midst of a really tough and trying time. We have not seen anything like this in our lives. We are in uncharted waters. We don't know what to expect. We wake up in the morning and forget what day it is, forget what it's like to get up and go to work. We work from home, in our pajamas some days. This is our life as it is right now. We can't change it, alter it, or make things change. We have to cope. We have to move forward. We have to survive the horror that is our world and the horror to come.
I chose the picture above because in the midst of this pandemic, we have to find some sort of humor. For me, its in the toilet paper extravaganza. For the life of me, I honestly do not understand how people can become so consumed with toilet paper! There are other things to wipe our butts with. I mean...find a corn cob or something. I get it though...toilet paper is mostly made in China, and things are shut down. I think this, among many other things, can cause us to realize how fragile our economy is in this country, and how fragile life is. How quickly we can go from being busy, busy, busy to being stuck in our homes with hardly nothing to do.
But thats the thing. We have the opportunity to do plenty. It's just not the things we are used to doing, or things we want to do. However, what other choice do we have? Sit and watch Netflix all day? I mean...that works well for a couple days, but how many days does it take for that to get super old? How many times can you watch Grey's Anatomy? Your favorite car show? I know for me, I get very restless sitting inside just watching TV. Reading is a great alternative. If you don't normally read, it can be something that can easily be picked up. You don't have to get a physical book; just get the kindle version. There are plenty of options.
Why stop there? When you have sat all you
can sat, and you feel like stepping out into the light will treat you similarly to those classic vampire movies, take a leap of faith outside the door and get some fresh air. Currently, we are in a stay at home order (at least here in Louisiana). But that doesn't mean that you have to stay inside your house. Yes, if you live in an apartment, that may be difficult. But you can surely get outside. Maybe go for a run? Walk? Ill share some bullet points to make the suggestions easy!
HERE ARE SOME TIPS
1. Get Outside It always helps to get outside when you are stuck inside all day. Though we are under quarantine in most of the country, get creative and figure out ways to move. Sitting inside for a prolonged amount of time is tough and gets harder the longer you do it.
2. Make a Schedule Check out our video on making a block schedule. Making a schedule may seem a little "elementary", but its just as important for adults as it is for kids. This can give some structure in the "structureless" days ahead.
3. Reach Out to Friends & Family Family is very important. We live in a time where technology is very helpful for us to communicate. NO....its not the same as in person. But its important to remember social distancing must be maintained if we are to overcome this. FaceTime/Skype is a great alternative to seeing someone in person.
4. Journal "Dear Diary".....Just Kidding. I'm not asking you to keep a diary here. But writing your thoughts down in a place can help you process what is going on. Write down your thoughts (rational and irrational) and feelings associated with tough parts of the day. While writing may not be for all, it is another way for you to process the current events in your brain. By processing your thoughts and feelings instead of covering them up with Netflix, you will come out of this pandemic with a much more healthy mindset.
5. Work on Finding Balance This concept is a little hard to define here. What is balance? Makes me think of Star Wars. Light vs. Dark. We often think of the world in a black/white kind of way. But thats just not how the world works! We must strive, especially in this pandemic, to find balance. Too much Netflix=Bad, too much working out=probably bad because you will pull a muscle. My suggestion here is to have multiple different things you can engage in throughout the day. Be intentional about scheduling. Reference the block scheduling video mentioned above.
6. Limit your Media Exposure It's important to limit exposure to media and news. Having the news on all day will just repeat and repeat negativity. Media is keeping up with "whats going on", but they are constantly taking about things we have little control over. Focus on "balance" and make sure to choose to do other things during the day.
7. Treat this time as an opportunity of growth for family and relationships We live in such a distracted world, we often neglect the closest things around us...mainly our family. I know for myself, it is easy to get distracted with work and often work very long hours, and my family pays the price. Now, we are forced to stay home. You have the choice to make the best of it, or be resentful. Choose the first!
8. Write down something you are thankful for each day This is something that can be helpful to use now, and moving forward in the future. The more we try to overcome the negative the more positive we will see. If we are constantly focused on negativity, we will only see negative. Consistency is key with this one! Do it every day. Get a sticky note. Write it on your bathroom mirror. Create a special note in your smartphone and go in there daily to write it down.
It is very important to remember, we are all in this together. No one had definite answers. Yes we learn more about the virus each day. But we don't know the future! Remember to follow recommendations and stay away from others as best as possible. Use common sense when going to the store for food. Practice basic hygiene and do the best you can do to keep your hands from your face! Try to fight for the positive...every day! Don't give up! You can become stronger from this. We can grow. We can thrive. We can survive!