Now officially, a pandemic, the Corona virus, presents challenges to our mental health. Many people are worried about how the government will respond, what the future holds, and the growing death rate.
Our “norm” is changing. It’s impossible to plan to visit family and friends or do whatever it is that you are accustomed to doing without the thought of contracting the Corona virus, as many states are enforcing less socializing, which leads us to spend more time at home than most of us are accustomed to.
Things we take for granted, like going to school or work, are now in limbo. The game of “wait and see” can be very nerve-wracking. Travel plans and social events are up in the air. It’s impossible not to worry about economic issues, and on top of that, worrying about health concerns can be maddening. On almost every front, there is anxiety.
On top of that, one of our primary coping mechanisms, social support, is fading. Many people fear that there will be no significant events, dates, or movie nights. Activities like grabbing a drink at the bar, going to the library, hugging, and shaking hands are all suddenly tabu. Because of this, many feel an anxiety they have never experienced before. Depression and stress can cause a feeling of being unsettled. Even without a history of depression or anxiety, many Americans are at our wit’s end because we are unaccustomed to having our resources constrained. Right now, people are having trouble buying/finding basic things.
Watching the news can be all doom and gloom. Even the most positive and optimistic person has a hard time seeing the bright side. Of course, we should take this pandemic seriously. It’s easy to focus only on the negative aspects of it, but doing so is counterproductive. We here at AMCI suggest that you make sure to focus on the positive in this situation as well. Like the old folks say, “If life gives you a bunch of lemons…. make yourself some lemonade.” That is a very positive way to think. Let’s weather this storm together. Here are seven things you can do to help ease your mind during unexpected confinement during a pandemic.
7 Things to do During a Pandemic
CONSIDER THE PAST.
Most people remember hurricanes, floods, fires, 9/11, financial meltdowns, and the economy crashes, but guess what? If you are reading this, you made it through it and are most likely stronger because of it. Remind yourself of how strong you are and KNOW that you will get through this too. This, too, shall pass.
LIMIT YOUR MEDIA INTAKE.
Do not spend the whole day watching the news. That alone can stress you out. Instead, stay in the know but limit your intake. Pick one trusted media source and decide how much time you will spend watching it and then stick to the plan.
DO NOT FEEL LIKE YOU ARE “STUCK” AT HOME.
Now is a perfect time to get things done around the house that you put off or never found time to do. Make your home your haven. Organize and clean. Listen to your favorite music while you do it.
DON’T GIVE IN TO FEELINGS OF ISOLATION IF YOU LIVE ALONE.
It’s is OK to be alone. Alone time is time to reflect. Get to know yourself. Take advantage of this unexpected “me time.” Don’t look at it as if it’s a bad thing. We know that cabin fever is real….since we know this, let’s plan for it. Expect to be still on purpose. Make the most of this free time. Exercise to get your blood flowing and to blow off some energy.
APPRECIATE WHO YOU LIVE WITH.
Watch a funny Movie, Play Card Games, Communicate. Turn off your devices. Take control of your time.
Go online and send them an encouraging word. Let them know that you will be back as soon as possible. If you are able, purchase a gift certificate to be used later.
Write your thoughts down. Something is grounding about holding a pen or pencil and scribbling your ideas on paper. Be sure to include positive acknowledgments of something about the day. Write about being thankful? Make a list of all the things that make you grateful. Write about the things you will do when things settle down. Make a bucket list. Doing this will help combat negative thoughts that bring about depression.
Right now, we are living in a state of constant negative messaging. It’s all you see and hear on social media and the news.
If none of these suggestions work, try using a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are known for the reduction of stress. It is a blanket (around 15 lbs). When used, the pressure from the weight is supposed to have a calming effect. A nonscientific study conducted by NBC News found that some people experience reduced racing thoughts, and ultimately the weighted blanket produced a calming effect. Often racing thoughts, and feeling of anxiousness could be a sign of depression. Depression is a medical diagnosis that should be diagnosed by a medical physician. To learn more about depression and how weighted blankets can reduce symptoms of depression. We recommend an article by Rachel Green and Wendy Rhodes on Depression and Weighted Blankets.
Regardless of what you do, remember you can be the antidote that promotes hope, determination, and a positive attitude. If we are all deliberate in stress-reducing, laughter-inducing, and positive things, we will all be just fine. Let’s get through these trying times together.