For the past two months, most Americans have been sheltering in place to try and slow the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, just about every aspect of life has changed. Some are working from home, millions are unemployed, children are learning from home, and many establishments are closed. These dramatic changes are overwhelming, to say the least.
Being stuck at home, unable to work, limited to your interactions with others, and adjusting to having your entire family under one roof all day is a lot to get used to. You are likely to experience an array of emotions ranging from happy and at peace to stressed out and depressed. It is certainly a lot to deal with, but there are constructive ways to handle the stress of the coronavirus pandemic.
Create a New Routine
Routines help to provide organization and structure to a household. Idle minds can also lead to inactivity and poor decisions. A routine gives you something to focus on and pass the time each day. Create a new routine for the family. Decide on a time to wake up, eat meals, complete exercise, do homework/work, spend time together as a family, get something done around the house, and also allot some time to focus on self-care.
Prioritize Diet and Exercise
Millions of people across the globe continue to contract the disease and hundreds of thousands of these individuals are losing their lives. This has created a heightened level of fear and panic for everyone as they wonder how to protect themselves and their loved ones from this vicious virus. Though there is no known cure, treatment, or vaccine for the coronavirus as of yet, a healthy immune system can help you fight the disease more effectively.
To control those feelings of fear and anxiety, start prioritizing healthy lifestyle practices like dieting and exercising. Eliminate unhealthy foods from your diet and start incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Select an exercise style or physical activity to complete each day for at least 30 minutes to an hour. In doing so you help to reduce feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety, boost your immune system, and decrease the chances of contracting the virus (or beating it if you do).
Find Something Positive to Focus On
With all that’s going on in the world right now, it can be easy to start feeling helpless, fearful, angry, or even depressed. The more of your day you spend focusing on things you cannot control, the worse these emotions become. It may seem challenging, but it’s important to find something positive to focus on when you start feeling overwhelmed.
Consider some good things that are happening in your life. Are you planning on getting married next year? Then why not spend some of your time focusing on things like mailing, saving the date cards or working on your wedding website? Maybe there’s nothing positive going on currently in your life. Now would be a great time to make something happen. Consider something you’ve always wanted to accomplish. Have you been meaning to start a garden? Order the supplies you need online and get to work. Gardening is very therapeutic, is a great form of exercise, and is something positive to focus on that can yield great results in the end.
Stay Connected to Loved Ones
If you’ve been following social distancing regulations and stay at home requests, then there’s a good chance you haven’t seen many of your friends, co-workers, and relatives in weeks. Being without social interaction from healthy relationships for too long can start to cause you to feel isolated and even depressed.
Though not the same as in-person meetings, there are several ways for you to stay connected with loved ones. Other than a friendly phone conversation, you can connect on social media, send text messages or emails, and use platforms like Skype or FaceTime to talk via video chat. Reaching out to those outside of your home on a regular basis can help to boost your mood and soothe any feelings of loneliness.
The coronavirus and the necessary changes required to try and keep it under control have been emotionally overwhelming, to say the least. Across the country, medical experts are worried that there will be an influx of mental health diagnoses as the pandemic continues to unfold. That’s why it is strongly advised that you work daily using suggestions like those provided above to reduce negative feelings to make adjusting to the “new normal” a lot easier.