The COVID-19 pandemic brought on a lot of changes in a very short amount of time. Without much time to prepare or adapt to the ever-changing and stressful circumstances we are finding ourselves in, it can be overwhelming trying to navigate through this without going a little nuts. Here are 7 helpful tips for staying sane as this unprecedented situation continues to escalate and evolve.
1. Keep a Routine
Our regular routines have (temporarily) ceased to exist. Whether we like to admit it or not, humans are creatures of habit, so when we find ourselves working from home when we expected to be in the office, caring for our kids when they are usually in school, or commuting to a near-empty office that was operating routinely just a couple weeks ago, it can be challenging to adapt, to say the least.
Establishing and maintaining a new routine using some of the activities from your old routine can help provide stability and consistency during these uncertain times. Continuing to wake up and go to sleep at the same time, showering and getting dressed as you normally would for work, eating regular meals, etc. will not only help keep you sane now but will also make the transition back to your regular routine much easier when the time comes.
2. Make the Most of Free Time
Stay Safe, Stay Home acts that have been implemented around the globe have granted us an abundance of "extra" time we never thought we would have. This is an opportunity to tackle all of those "someday" goals and projects. There are hundreds of local and global companies offering free and paid classes, courses, and seminars you can take advantage of right from the comfort of your own home. Doing a simple Google or YouTube search for what you're interested in trying or learning will provide overwhelming results.
If you need a break from technology, crack open that new book you've been meaning to read, try some outdoor activities, try some paper crafts, or enjoy doing nothing for once! Whatever you need to do, the time is yours and the possibilities are endless (just remember to follow the CDC and WHO recommendations to continue to stay safe and help flatten the curve).
3. Stay Connected (from a distance)
Practicing physical distancing is vital to slowing the spread of COVID-19 but staying socially connected is crucial during this time. With the use of technology, we can get creative with how we stay in touch. Using FaceTime, Zoom, What's App, or other social media platforms. We can virtually play games, do karaoke, host happy hours, or simply just chat face-to-face without any risk of spreading COVID-19.
If you are feeling nostalgic or have a loved one who isn't tech-savvy, try sending a letter via snail-mail. There is also a Postcard Project that just started where you can sign up to get a pen pal!
4. Find the Silver Lining
Perspective is everything. This pandemic is serious, scary and is producing a multitude of challenges for everyone around the globe. But even the biggest storm cloud has a silver lining, we just have to keep our eyes and minds open. Try to come up with one positive thing that has come out of this situation for you every day. If you're struggling to come up with one, check out this article on how the quarantine is impacting the Earth.
5. Help Each Other Thrive
Most paper, pulp and packaging employees have been deemed essential, and are fortunate enough to still be employed. If you are healthy and able, there are several ways you can lend a hand to people in need during this pandemic.
A quick Google search will reveal tons of charities accepting money, supplies, and other donations, like blood, both locally and globally to aid in COVID-19 relief efforts. However, sometimes we can make the biggest difference right in our own backyard. Delivering some household staples to a neighbor in need, saying thank you to a medical professional who is on the "front lines" battling this disease every day, or FaceTiming a friend who is in isolation can completely turn around someone's day. If you can't do any of that, staying home as much as possible will help slow the spread of the virus, and is the most helpful thing we can all do right now.
6. Prioritize Self-Care
Prioritizing self-care in the midst of quarantine is especially important because you can't draw water from an empty well. Many of us have other people to care for and other responsibilities that need our attention, and if we aren't taking care of ourselves, we could get burnt out quickly.
Self-care looks different for everyone, but carving out time each day, even if it's only a few minutes, to do something that replenishes your energy, clears your mind, or makes you feel good about yourself is mandatory.
If you feel depressed or anxious, or just need someone neutral to talk to, there is a free emotional helpline that you can call that offers confidential support: 1-844-863-9314. There are also websites that offer virtual, confidential therapy sessions year-round, such as BetterHelp and Talkspace.
7. Remember that this, too, shall pass.
While this COVID-19 situation may seem like it will last forever, it will eventually pass. Life after this virus may not be exactly like it used to be, but a new normal will emerge. Cheers to better, healthier days ahead.
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