Here we are, nine months into the Coronavirus pandemic and I am EXHAUSTED! And, according to my clients, they are EXHAUSTED, too! (I’m guessing you are as well.) This is not just “it’s been a long day” exhausted; this is the kind of exhausted that makes you tired ten minutes after you wake up, when you have to wear a mask everywhere, when you have to stomp back to your car when you forget your mask (again), when the news is nothing but numbers of sick and dying, when you had to have Thanksgiving with the same three or four people you’ve been stuck with since the start of the year, when you worry about your exposure risk when a friend-of-a-friend tests positive for COVID… and on and on.
As I’ve shared with my clients and friends, this pandemic has done a number on all of us. For those with pre-existing mental health concerns, it has definitely cranked things up a few notches. And for those who were functioning pretty healthily until March, a portion of you found yourselves really, really struggling. For good reason, more and more people are accessing mental health services (almost 100% of therapists are online right now) and I can attest that therapists are really busy right now!
Here are some tips to get you through those really, really tough days:
- Take a walk! With the recent dip in temperatures, it’s more difficult to find the motivation to bundle up and get outside. However, simply taking a 10 minute stroll around your neighborhood has so many benefits! Fresh, clean air in your lungs, a burst of endorphins in your body, and the chance to see things outside of the four walls of your home! In fact, with appropriate social distancing, you don’t even have to wear that mask!
- Write a letter. Remember the lost art of putting pen to paper and writing actual words? And then putting a stamp on it and knowing the magical USPS folks would take care of the rest? I bet you know someone who would love to get “real” mail in their mailbox to cheer them up. Or maybe you can make it a family affair and the kids can draw pictures for grandma or great uncle.
- Get dressed. Seriously. I know this pandemic has reduced our morning routines to… well, less than what they used to be. For those stuck behind computer screens and in Zoom meetings all day, “business on the top and pajamas on the bottom” has turned into the status quo. What if you actually did your whole routine, just one day a week? Bathe, deodorize, shave, moisturize, etc. Imagine what it would feel like to be “put together” and how that would affect your mood!
- Rearrange your furniture. It sounds silly, but with most of us spending 24/7 in our homes these days, we are so accustomed to how things look around us that we go blind to everything. Change it up! Move your sofa against that other wall in your living room or switch the position of your bed so you wake up facing the window. It may not work out or be practical for the long haul, but enjoy the change as long as you can stand it!
- Do something for someone else. Cook a meal for your next door neighbor, leave a friendly note on someone’s door, pay it backward in the line at McDonald’s, or offer to help someone bring in their groceries. When we are feeling stressed and isolated, the best rewards are intrinsic – making yourself feel better from the inside out.
This pandemic has proven we are all human and we are all susceptible to slips in our mental and emotional well-being. If your symptoms are overwhelming, burdensome, or last too long for you, please reach out to someone for help! Acadia Counseling is here for you if you choose to seek a professional’s help! You can schedule appointments that accommodate your schedule directly from our website (www.acadiacounseling.com) by clicking on “Request Appointment” or by calling (502) 825-1375. #healinghappenshere