It is an uncertain time in the world right now, and the news is changing by the hour it seems. It is normal to have feelings of anxiousness and depression during a world-wide pandemic, but remember to be kind to yourself when you start to feel this way, and know that you are not alone in these feelings.
The world is coming together in this beautiful, collaborative movement to #stayhome, and while this is a wonderful sense of community, it is hard to feel that when uncertainty is looming over everyone, in all corners of the world. While I myself struggle with these thoughts and feelings of nervousness and anxiety during these times, there are a few things that keep my days easier, and maybe these will help you too.
It’s hard, I understand, but there are so many things to be grateful for in this time. I like to remind myself of this when my thoughts begin to overwhelm me with everything that I am scared of. Some things I am grateful for today:
*I am thankful for the community that has come together to promote social distancing, and all the people who care greatly for the vulnerable populations.
*I am grateful for the healthcare workers who go to work everyday with the same anxieties that everyone else is feeling in this time of uncertainty.
*I am grateful for the supply chain that is keeping us fed in this time
*I am grateful that I have a roof over my head, and that I am still able to help others with virtual counselling.
*I am so thankful for the essential workers in my community who go to work each day during this uncertain time in history
*I am thankful that I have people who I can reach out to when I am feeling just a little too much of everything all at once.
*I am thankful for music, the internet, creativity, my family, my partner, and my cat who seems to only be worried that her food dish doesn’t remain empty for too long.
Sometimes reminding ourselves that we have much to be thankful for can help us transition from that feeling of panic, to a feeling of peace.
What are you grateful for at this time in your life?
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”A.A. Milne
I saw a post recently that a friend had shared to journal how we are feeling during this time of uncertainty. This is a unique time in history, and there will be moments that we forget, moments we perhaps want to forget, but still pieces of history that we can see and look back at.
Journalling isn’t just a great way to keep a record of the past, but is so helpful to look back at, and say one day “hey, I made it through that”. It’s often a reminder to me that moments do pass.
What does journalling look like for me?
*I usually start with the things I am thankful for
*Then I like to write down the things I am scared of or things I worry about
*After that, I like to remind myself what is in my control, and what isn’t.
In these times, anxiety and depression are bound to spike because the “what if’s” become plentiful and the weight of our own thoughts begin to encumber us. This is normal in these times, and for those who have struggled with anxiety or depression in the past, this can be an even more difficult time.
Sometimes, when I don’t know what to journal, I’ll start making lists:
“What makes me happy?”
“What worries me today?”
“What are my favourite memories?”
“What is my favourite food?”
“List your favourite apps”
When our own thought become heavy for us, writing it down moves it from our thoughts, to a piece of paper. It takes it from one place to another.
What would your journal look like if you got to decorate it with your favourite things?
“Your Journal is like your bestfriend, You don’t have to pretend with it, you can be honest and write exactly how you feel”Bukola Ogunwale
How lucky are we in this beautiful place, to be able to walk outside, smell the fresh air, and still maintain a distance from others? How blessed we are that we live in an area with natural resources that are not only beautiful, but plentiful.
I know it is hard to get up and move when our own thoughts are weighing us down. It’s so easy to sit on our phones and scroll for hours, looking up recent news, headlines, updates, and whatever else the internet has to offer that day. Exercise has lots of benefits that we know of, and a big one that can help in these uncertain times is endorphins. Endorphins make us feel good, and right now I think we all could allow ourselves to feel a little better.
*I like to stretch, and take deep breathes when I am feeling like I haven’t moved in awhile.
*I also like to put on some runners and get outside, soak up the sun (or the rain), and move my body. It always makes me feel better.
*Playing some music and moving around the house either dancing, or cleaning
What can you do in your day to get your body moving and release some endorphins?
“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”Elle Woods-Legally Blonde
Remember when you had a routine? You’d wake up, go to work, go to school, hit the gym, go shopping, head to bar, go see a movie; these are just some of the things that gave us a sense of structure in our lives that now seem to be disrupted.
While I am practicing social distancing, my routine is non-existent, but it sure feels good when I have one.
Some things that have helped me stay on routine is:
*Getting dressed and ready for the day after my cup of coffee. Trust me when I say pajamas are my favorite thing ever, but it feels like I have more structure in my life if I simply get ready for the day. Even though I won’t be seeing anyone, and I am not going out besides to walk, it makes me feel like I have a routine.
*Giving myself a game plan for the day the night before such as: Wake up, have coffee, get dressed, clean that drawer I’ve been looking at for months, read a few chapters of a book.
*Go outside every day, just one thing to always look forward to each day
Whatever your routine will look like set it up.
When I feel like I have tasks to do in a day, or a sense of schedule, it makes me feel a little bit better.
What sort of daily routine can you make for yourself that will help add structure to your day?
I’ve been singing Shakira songs in front of my bathroom mirror into my hairbrush forever. It’s like a daily routine.Taylor Swift
Humans all over the world have one very amazing thing in common: we create. That creativity, however it is expressed, is a part of being human. Creativity doesn’t necessarily mean to make something wonderful and / or useful, rather, it is an expression of being a human.
*I love to paint, or attempt a new craft when I am feeling creative. I like to knit or crochet, sometimes it doesn’t amount to anything but practicing stitches, but I do it and it feels like I’m utilizing my creative self.
*Baking or cooking, I LOVE to bake or to cook and I always get creative. Even if I’m following a recipe exactly, I still feel like I’m creating something (and when the creating means baked goods in my tummy, I’m extra excited).
Incorporating some creativity into my day helps me release those feelings of worry and panic that come and go in a time of pandemic.
What can you do to nurture your creative side?
Be Kind To Yourself
These are times of great uncertainty, and for many who struggle with mental health, this time in the world is a catalyst to already overwhelming feelings of nervousness or anxiety. I sometimes think about how lucky I am in many ways, and I begin to ponder all the people who are not as privileged as me in the sense of having a safe home, or food in the fridge, and I feel a sense of guilt. It is important to remember that self-love is just as important as loving others.
But be kind to yourself, be grateful for who you are an all the things you bring to the world.
Some ways I have been practicing self-love is:
*Limiting my screen time: I can get caught up in all the news and for some people, this is fine, but for me it can sometimes become overwhelming, so I limit myself to the news and check in twice a day.
*Yoga; stretching and deep breathes make me feel a little more loved.
*Cooking a delicious dinner; I feel more self-love when I make sure I am eating something that is comforting and nutritious.
*A big bowl of popcorn and some peppermint tea while watching a Netflix repeat.
*Catching up with friends and family through video chat, texts, or phone calls
*Have a good cry. Yep, sometimes I just let myself cry it out and give myself that time to feel. It is normal to feel scared, sad, nervous, or just emotional during times of uncertainty. And crying can be the best way to show yourself it is okay to express that.
What can you do to be kind to yourself today?
“You must be very polite with yourself when you are learning something new”Elizabeth Gilbert
I hope everyone is staying safe and well during this time. If even one of these tidbits of advice rang true for you, I am happy that you found this to read.
“I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.”Oscar Wilde
Katherine Hollingsworth, BA
*these thoughts are my own and do not necessarily reflect Reach Out’s thoughts, opinions, or viewpoints. This is not a professional advice piece, it is a personal blog entry by myself as the life coach here at Reach Out.