Our lives have been changed forever in 2020. We have all faced unique challenges due to COVID-19. We have experienced economic depression, loss of loved ones, and fear of the virus itself.
Navigating through the stress of it all can become overwhelming. When we begin to feel like giving up, it is important for us to keep moving and act quickly.
Here are some tips to consider:
Reach out to someone you trust
I have a small group of family members and friends that I know I can talk to about personal issues and struggles. It seems like during the pandemic we have reached out to one another more often to discuss our feelings of anxiety, loneliness, depression, and restlessness. Some of my core group have helped me to focus on what is truly important in my life. (i.e. faith, family and health) I have been fortunate enough to help others during this difficult time. Sometimes, talking through our feelings is enough to get us through tough times.
Before the pandemic, my priorities were vastly different. The quarantine made me slow down and reassess what was truly important in my life. Once I was reminded that the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, and love were being fulfilled for me and my family, my anxiety began to lessen. I began to feel grateful for the blessings that I had in my life and let go of the old priorities that could be placed on hold. An attitude of gratitude will take us much further than focusing on what we don’t have at this time.
Do the things you enjoyed in the past
My vacation plans and routine outings were disrupted due to the global pandemic. I have had to re-focus on alternative things that I have enjoyed in the past. This spring I planted more flowers than I normally plant and tending to the additional variety of flowers has provided me a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment for the summer.
A family member shared with me that she recently bought a pair of roller skates and as soon as she completes her work in her home office, she enjoys time skating in her driveway each evening. A friend is working from home and walks outside on her lunch breaks to get fresh air and to break up the monotony of her workday.
Another friend has family game night each weekend, complete with appetizers and music. Take the time to explore solo and small group activities that you can enjoy.
Reconnect with the earth
Limiting outings during the pandemic is very difficult for people who are accustomed to being social. When possible and safe, get out of the house, breathe fresh air, walk or ride a bike outdoors, drink water, and eat food from the earth. I know several people who planted a garden for the first time this year. It is an activity they can do safely in their backyard, it promotes healthy eating and it is a reminder to them that God provides all of our needs.
Seek professional help
Seeking help from a mental health professional is an act of self-care. Just as if we would seek medical care for our bodies, we should feel free to do the same for lingering feelings of giving up. You may begin the conversation with your family doctor and allow them to provide you with a referral. Your health insurance provider or your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) may also be a resource. In addition, your place of worship and/or local community center may offer mental health services.
A mental health professional receives specialized training and education on how to manage feelings of anxiety, depression, loneliness, restlessness etc. Individual and group counseling is often available to provide support in managing feelings that may become obstacles in living a well-adjusted, healthy life.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255 provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention, and crisis resources for you and your loved ones.
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