5 C's of Coping with COVID (April 2020)

Oct 22, 2020

 

 

"If you are wondering if I am going to tell you that you should be doing something different, I am not. You have the right to feel whatever it is you are feeling and finding productive ways to cope with those feelings can be challenging."

It was hard to know how to start this month’s blog. I always try to be a little different, keep you interested, say what I think will support you in your healing for the month. But the truth is, right now I don’t have anything different to say than what you may have read so many other times before. I really hope that this message finds you well - in good health, in good spirits and with the only losses that are replaceable. However, as I speak to my clients and take the proverbial temperature here in NY, what I know to be true is that many of us are going between moments of feeling good or okay and really sad or anxious. We are vacillating between being patrons in D-Nice’s ‘HomeSchool’ set inside ‘Club Quarantine,’ mindlessly watching TV, working at home, teaching from home, wondering what will happen next and when will this be over. Some or all of these things we try to do at the same time. If you are wondering if I am going to tell you that you should be doing something different, I am not. You have the right to feel whatever it is you are feeling and finding productive ways to cope with those feelings can be challenging. I know you have seen a lot and heard alot and people have alot of advice for you right now. Here are mine; I wanted to give you some tips that can support you in maintaining your wellness from a full scope perspective. My prayer is that some or all provide some relief. 

 

"Don’t be afraid to plan out opportunities for fun that allow you to not feel trapped. Remember, agency is important to helping us manage anxiety and the effects of trauma."

 

1. Clarity: There is so much information right now that it can be overwhelming. What is COVID, when will the APEX be, what should you be doing, how to do it right and how to even feel. What can feel even more confusing is that often the information is changing often. You can read one thing at one time and in the next moment read information that is contradictory. Here are some tips to achieve clarity: 1) Choose your information sources wisely and stick to receiving them from only 1 or 2 trusted places. 2) Decide your course of action based on the information that you have at the time and know that it is okay to change it. 3) Decide what you want to do with your time and follow your plan and also know that you can change that. You do not need to have all the answers for the duration of this time or for any specific time in the future. Understand what you need to do now, and be okay with doing that and shifting if you need to. 

2. Consistency: Create a plan for your day and/or week and be consistent with it. A good place to start is considering what would you be doing if you were not staying at home right now and begin there. What time do you get up, what is your routine and duplicate it. Get up at the same time and get ready. Instead of complaining about the commute, make that breakfast that you consistently complained about not having. Maybe you always wanted to journal, workout or meditate in the morning, now you have the time do that. Set up a place to work in your home and work from there during designated times. Leave that area for breaks and when your day is over. What would you typically do after work? Drinks with friends, workout class, reading a book, a walk? Do whatever you can virtually and do other things safely (i.e. walking while maintaining physical distance). The other key to maintaining consistency is breaking up the monotony. Find unique ways to do things. Maybe your workout has been HIIT, but maybe today it is yoga or trying a new routine. Don’t be afraid to plan out opportunities for fun that allow you to not feel trapped. Remember, agency is important to helping us manage anxiety and the effects of trauma. You have some control over what you do and how you do it, use it. 

"Showing care and concern for others really helps our emotional well being and supports us in maintaining the community we care about even when outside is “open” again. "

 

 

3. Communication: Who are you talking to and how frequently? For many of us the first few weeks have been checking in with friends and family about how they are doing. Maybe this felt new so we wanted to vent or gather input. Now that things are shifting, some of us may encounter individuals that have heightened periods of anxiety. COVID takes up a large portion of their conversations. Maybe they have become unemployed or experienced some other losses because of this, be mindful of how the communication you are engaging in is making you feel. You may want to limit your conversations with some people. You may want to be mindful of topics you discuss with others. For some, you may want to hold space for others that need you. Whatever the ways or reasons you are communicating, be mindful of the impact that it is having on you and use your tools to manage. 

4. Community: Please make sure that you are engaging in virtual community during this time. While I understand that some of us do not feel that it is “the same” and it isn’t, maintaining connections is critical for self care. Especially if you live alone, it can be difficult emotionally to go without connections to others. Some of us may not notice the shifts that occur in our mood or thought patterns with interpersonal connections. Be aware of how often you are connecting with friends and family. Do not assume that because someone is not contacting you that they do not wish to be bothered. Stay connected to self and grounded so that you can pay attention to when you want to spend time with someone else. There are so many virtual games, dance parties and experiences to be shared, even though they require additional pre planning that may not have been needed before. 

5. Care: PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND OTHERS! The best way to do that right now is to engage in physical distancing as much as possible. Also, consider ways that you can show others that you care. Is there a neighbor or a family member that you can share the responsibility with for food shopping to avoid going outside so much. Is there a neighborhood restaurant you trust to order food from that needs your support. Can you afford to send your monthly tips to your hairstylist, your nail technician or other individuals who you get services from. For these industries things may be tough for a while. Showing care and concern for others really helps our emotional well being and supports us in maintaining the community we care about even when outside is “open” again. 

However you choose to do it, be intentional about the ways that you are coping right now and every day moving forward. 


Virtual Hugs, 

Melissa

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