If you’re feeling scared, or even terrified about the future, remember that we’re all in unchartered territory with the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps the worst part of this crisis for many is the growing uncertainty about when things will get back to normal.
We ask ourselves daily: when will the Corona Virus subside so we can take back our lives and resume our former routine? For instance, Claire, age, 38, is stressed about being the primary breadwinner now that her husband, Steve, 40, is laid off from his job as a manager of a movie theater. They have two children to feed and bills to pay on one income.
Claire put it this way: “I go to bed every night so anxious about how we’re going to continue to pay our mortgage, food, car payments, etc. with Steve out of work. He’s filed for unemployment but it’s not enough money and I fear we’ll fall short and lose our home.”
Let’s face it, we’ve all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in many facets of our life – ranging from lay-offs or shut downs from our jobs, children home from school, social isolation, and fear of contacting the Corona Virus.
Not to mention that when we turn on the TV, we are bombarded with messages about staying at home. But since we need food and medication (and gas to drive to the stores) we must practice social distancing rather than greet our neighbors with our usual friendliness.
While some of us have lost our jobs, others are wondering how we will manage working at home with multiple distractions such as sharing work spaces with kids and partners. Sadly, others may know someone who has Corona Virus – and some of you have lost a loved one.
Right now, the most important things any of us can do is to stay at home and practice social distancing, but these actions can lead to feelings of social isolation and anxiety.
Here is our challenge: instead of seeing the COVID-19 pandemic as as something entirely bad, we can take actions to make it an opportunity to practice self-care.
How many times have you said “I’m so busy to exercise” or “I wish I had time to clean my closet”?
In other words, this is the time to do things you’ve been putting off.
So, make the most of your time by getting your mind off the negativity and news, and shift to something positive and productive.
Here are 12 self-care tips that may help you:
- Begin the day with a ritual and routine by organizing activities during the day. Hold on to whatever routine you can…. it might be reading the paper with a cup of coffee or taking your dog for a walk. Get dressed for the day as well – take a shower and put on comfortable clothes that allow you to take a walk and breathe. Plus, the routine of getting dressed will help you start the day with a routine and calm your nerves.
- Take three deep breaths often and/or do yoga. Whenever you start to feel anxious, take a breath in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth with a sigh – this helps to release oxytocin and activate the parasympathetic nervous system so you won’t overreact to stress (such as unpaid bills)! While you breathe visualize your favorite place to be!
- Exercise each day for at least 30 minutes. Go outdoors go for a walk or ride your bike. And since many gyms and yoga studios are offering free online classes, indulge in one of them 3 times a week. Exercise releases feel good endorphins into the body and is great for your mental health and reducing stress levels.
- Start a 30-day challenge of showing appreciation for you partner or best friend by telling them two things you appreciate about them each day. Be specific, such as “I appreciated it when you made dinner last night so that I could take an on-line yoga class.”
- Take some “me time” every day. It’s amazing how stress disappears when you go for a walk alone or read a book for 30 minutes, etc.
- Give your house an early ‘spring cleaning’ – clean out those closets and do all those jobs you have been putting off such as decluttering your home office.
- Read a book and exchange books with family and friends. You can practice social distance by leaving books for each other on each other’s porch or in their mailbox.
- Rest and take a daily short nap. Anxiety and stress can be exhausting but keep in mind that long naps can disrupt your sleep schedule at night.
- Meditate, Pray! Watching your favorite minister give an on-line sermon can help you regain a spiritual perspective.
- Enjoy a movie or TV series for 1-2 hours, one night a week, with family virtually. Choose a movie on TV or Netflix, then, have close family get on Skype or FaceTime so you can watch it and talk about the movie together. Take turns watching shows you all enjoy!
- Make time for fun! As yourself: what would bring me and my loved one’s happiness while staying at home? Board games, reading books, making home-cooked meals, baking bread, listening to music, painting, daily walks, etc.?
- Make sure you have tech free periods each day that are media free (including social media). So much of what we hear on social media and the news is exaggerated and can contribute to anxiety, uncertainty, and stress which can keep you up at night.
Keep in mind that you can’t control the COVID-19 pandemic but you can control the thoughts you choose to focus on – whether or not they are positive or negative. By practicing several self-care tips above every day, you’re bond to feel a mood boost and to feel more optimistic about your future! After all, we truly are “All in this together.”
Twitter, Facebook, and, movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s award winning book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship is available on her website. Her new book The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around was published by Sounds True on February 18, 2020.
I’d love to hear from you and answer your questions about relationships, divorce, marriage, and remarriage. Please ask a question here. Thanks! Terry