You know what? Things suck right now.
Maybe you’ve lost your job and are worried about the future. Maybe you’ve kept your job, but the stress from this whole thing is making you super nervous. Or maybe you’re just tired and scared, worried about your loved ones or yourself.
Likely, you were just barely making it through the days before this whole shit-storm began and now not only is it dragging you down, you can’t even leave your house! Not that you ever WANTED to leave your house, of course. But there’s a big difference between embracing an introvert’s existence and having it forced upon you.
IT. SUCKS. RIGHT. NOW.
Guess what? It’s okay to be really upset about it.
Your plans were canned. Your money is gone. You are worried about this virus as it continues to get worse every day, so YES! YOU’VE EARNED THE RIGHT TO BE UPSET!!! When the upset becomes too much, here are a few things you can do:
…and cry and cry. Don’t analyze or try to stem it. Yes, of course, someone out there has it worse than you, but think about the pain when you stub your toe. Yes, there’s someone in the world whose leg is getting eaten by a bear at the exact moment your toe got stubbed. Their pain is worse…but guess what? STUBBING YOUR TOE HURTS IN A SICK, SAD WAY. Don’t minimize your experience.
2.) Talk about it
Again, yes, someone has it worse than you. Someone always has it worse than someone else. It’s okay to talk about how frustrated you feel. Even a good Facebook rant will find that a lot of people are feeling just as you are.
3.) Turn off the news and the podcasts, and watch a HILARIOUS movie.
Better if it’s something you’ve seen before but haven’t watched in years. Nostalgia can breed healing. Take a break, even for just an hour, from hearing about the ills of the situation. Give your mind a good mental rinse. While not a movie, I highly recommend Derry Girls if you want something beautifully written and scorchingly funny. I binged it and for hours at a time, I forgot the virus existed.
When you’re ready to hear a podcast again, our recent episode featuring Mat Auryn focuses on coping during this time.
4.) Move your body
The gyms may be closed at the moment, and maybe you didn’t like to go anyway. Take a walk. State parks and hiking trails may be closed at the moment, but you can still take a brisk walk around the block. If the weather is too crappy or your own health is too vulnerable to take the chance of being out an about, sweep the floor, vacuum, or do the dishes. Moving your body will get you out of your head.
5.) Check in on other people
Text someone you haven’t spoken to in years. They too are cooped up in their house (or they should be) and may very well welcome the distraction. Call an elder.
6.) Journal about all the crazy shit you’ve seen and experienced since this whole thing began.
How long were the grocery lines at your local store? When was the last time you saw toilet paper on the shelves? What’s the craziest reaction you’ve seen from your neighbors? Have you witnessed any great acts of beauty? Write them down!
7.) Use this time to take stock of how you use your time.
There are a lot of memes going around saying unhelpful things like “Shakespeare wrote King Lear during a plague.” Great for Billy S. But you don’t have to use this time to write the book you’ve been talking about writing for years. There is also a lot of stress happening at the moment that may make it harder to create. But do ask yourself, “What would I be doing if I weren’t stuck at home?” You may find a lot of your hours in non-plague-time are not nurturing the creation of things you actually want.
8.) Be gentle with yourself
Moments of depression will happen. Make sure you’re connecting with others during the especially difficult moments. Don’t be hard on yourself for taking this hard, for not being productive, for being a grouch. You’ll have time to make up for it when this nonsense has passed.