Most of us are living our lives in new ways: staying safe, working from home, educating our children, all while distanced from our family, friends and our usual support networks. We crave the social life we have had to suspend. We are isolated, for the most part, from the happy chaos in which we once thrived.
This can cause us to make poor choices, like drinking or sleeping too much, and can ultimately lead to depression, anger, even grief. We need to stay healthy, protect ourselves and others, but what can we do to cope with the stress we are feeling?
One thing we can do is take the time we’ve been given and see it as a blessing. We have more time for family, which means eating meals together, taking walks in the evening, enjoying the blossoming spring and realizing how lucky we are to be with our family. If you are far away from your relatives, make video calls. Take a loved one on a virtual walk and “show them around” your neighborhood. Use technology to stay connected. Check on your far away loved ones. Everyone likes to know that someone is thinking about them.
Another way to cope these days is through exercise, yoga, meditation, and quiet mindfulness. Make sure you are eating healthy foods to feed your brain and give you energy. Use that energy to spend time on yourself, whether it’s going for a run, working out to a video, or gardening… keep moving! Drink plenty of water, less alcohol, and your body will thank you.
Realize that you have the time to do hobbies and projects you haven’t been able to work on yet. Read that book you bought last year. Write letters to your friends the old-fashioned way – by hand! Repaint the bathroom. Find something to bring you joy. Dance around the house to shake off the gloom.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if you feel yourself slipping into depression. Talk about your feelings with your spouse, children, sister… whomever you feel comfortable confiding in, do it! Chances are, they’ve been feeling the same way. Use that dark cloud to relate and share. Eventually, the sun will shine on that silver lining we’ve all been given.
We have time to love each other, to be kind. We have the chance to work on our yards, our homes, and ourselves. We have an opportunity to live in new and creative ways, to thrive in the face of adversity, to triumph. This can be a time of rebirth, renewal and change.
The human spirit is capable of incredible things, like strength, resilience and hope. If we stay positive, support one another and treat our minds and bodies like the temples they are, we’ve got this. We can handle anything. We will remember these days for the rest of our lives. What will you remember?