It’s on your social media. It’s on TV. It’s the conversation at work. COVID-19 took over almost every part of our lives beginning in March. The government temporarily closed businesses and schools, and encouraged social distancing. Under the circumstances, it’s easy to lose one’s cool. So, what can you do to stay calm and productive during such an uncertain time?
1. Take it one day at a time
Don’t waste energy worrying about what will happen three weeks or three months from now. Focus solely on the here and now and the things you can control. Tweak your daily routine to fit your current situation.
2. Avoid information overload
Stay informed, but don’t read about the pandemic all day every day. Pick a few trusted sources of information and decide when you’re going to tune in and check them. Then stick with that schedule. Constant news consumption is more likely to fuel your anxiety.
3. Continue to connect
As more businesses close and we are encouraged to distance ourselves more and more from others, it can begin to feel a little lonely. Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t connect with your family and friends or your environment. Take a walk outside, order takeout from your favorite local restaurant, and connect with small groups of people (via zoom, facetime or in-person 6 feet away).
4. Don’t judge your anxieties — or those of the people around you
Go easy on yourself and others. This is an unusual situation, so don’t beat yourself up for feeling anxious or upset. Acknowledge your feelings and think about how to deal with them one step at a time. Similarly, don’t judge others for their anxieties or reactions. People are going to miss out on sports, graduations, weddings, and even funerals, along with countless other celebrations, over the next few months. There are going to be disappointments. Those feelings are real and they matter. Let’s give ourselves (and those around us) permission to feel the feelings we have.
5. Be grateful for what you have
Spend some time thinking about the things you are thankful for. Then express your gratitude to others. Tell your friends and family how much you appreciate them. When they reciprocate, accept their messages of appreciation and gratitude. Sharing these feelings can make us feel cared for — and make us feel good.