How do we deal with anxiety and our thoughts when everything around us is changing, sometimes changing by the day or even by the hour? During this time of pandemic caused by COVID 19, we all have changes to our routines. Maybe you you’ve been laid off or you’re facing fear of a lay off. Maybe it’s not that at all, maybe the change for you is more responsibility or stress at work. Maybe you’re home with your kids and not getting a break because your daycare is closed or your kids are home from school until the Fall and you’re suddenly homeschooling your kids. Maybe you’re about to have your first baby and you don’t know what that’s going to look like or when all your loved ones will get to meet that new special someone in your life.
Those circumstances probably just begin to detail what our lives look like right now. Although our specific stories might look different, we can be assured we’re not in this alone. So, what do we do to stay healthy during this time, and not just healthy physically, but healthy in our minds?
- First, wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or with hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol, wash and disinfect your high touch surfaces often and stay at home. Limit trips to the store as much as possible. Wear a mask when you have to go out in public and avoid touching your face. Taking control of the things you can control will help you to relax a little.
- Understand that although we may feel isolated, we are not alone. Reach out to your circle and hangout through FaceTime or Zoom.
- Be active every day. Get outside when you can. YouTube is great resource for free workout videos, your gym may be streaming workouts, or download an online platform for your workouts. What better time to establish good habits that will help you clear your mind. Wouldn’t it be great to think you started a lasting workout routine in this time? If you are pregnant and have questions about safe exercise in pregnancy, let us know.
- Take time for yourself. We all know we’re not getting pedicures at the salon these days, but order some fun pedicure creams and take 30 minutes in the quiet to soak your feet and give yourself some attention. You won’t be sorry and your feet will thank you.
- Turn off the tv. While it’s good to stay informed, watching all the updates can be really overwhelming. Enroll in text notification updates from MA. Text COVIDMA to 888-777 for the latest updates. This will allow you to stay informed without being overwhelmed with too much information.
- Practice Mindfulness – mindfulness practice includes:
-paying attention to what is going on around you, experience what is going on around you through use of your 5 senses.
– live in the moment and find joy in the now
– accept yourself and treat yourself well.
-focus on your breathing as you breath in and out.
-adopt meditation techniques (1)
An app you may find helpful for guidance with mindfulness and meditation is CALM.
- Do something for someone else. Have your kids make cards for someone they care about. Not only will it keep your kids busy, but it will brighten the day of their friend, grandparent or loved one. This craft time might even give you 20 minutes to yourself.
- If you need help keeping your kids busy, Legos are the best! There are even books available with instructions for how to build new things with the same Legos you have in your bin.
9.Try to think about something that will make you feel fulfilled. Work on a project you’ve been meaning to tackle in your home. This might be brightening up a space, organizing a drawer or closet, or completing a whole room make over. Many local craft and hardware stores are closed but are still offering curbside pick-up for items you may need for your project.
- Teach yourself something new. Do you ever wish you learned how to play the piano or guitar? Now might be the perfect time! And maybe you can learn alongside your kids. Simply Piano is an app you can download for piano lessons.
- Look for the good. There many good things happening during this time. Families are having time to play games, cook together or go for walks. People are making masks for others they don’t even know, or providing meals for people suffering from hunger. Make yourself aware of the good, and if you can join in on it, do it!
- Give yourself some grace. These times are unprecedented and we don’t have to act like we have it all together. Some days will feel easier than others. Be a support to a friend, it’s a great time to be there for one another and the benefits are reciprocal. Although we may not all be experiencing the same circumstances, these times are difficult for everyone.
- Maybe your anxiety feels overwhelming or doesn’t seem normal, maybe you feel like you’re spinning out of control or becoming depressed. If so, please reach out to your healthcare professionals and make sure your support person knows how you’re feeling. We’re doing telehealth visits and may be able to help or refer you to someone who can. If you’re established with a counselor or therapist, see if they are offering telehealth visits. If you are in such a dark time that you’re feeling unsafe, make sure you reach out right away by calling 911.
Right now, we don’t know how long it will be until life gets back to “normal,” but there is a lot we can do to stay healthy of body and mind until we are all together again.