Jan 18th 2021
Learning to adapt to the "new normal" that the pandemic has forced society into is not an easy feat. With continuous changes to daily life, including curbside pickups, wearing masks in public, social distancing, school closures, and working from home, life as we knew it seems like a distant memory. Here are a few tips to help you navigate your way through these challenging times.
It is easy to lose all sense of time and space when you are spending the vast majority of your time at home. Days can turn into weeks, and at times, it can start to feel like you have lost yourself in it all. Creating a routine and sticking to it is one way to help counteract this. Set an alarm and get up at the same time every day, shower and get dressed as if you are going to work, schedule regular meals, and set a bedtime routine. These may seem small, but they make a big difference in the long run. They can help create a sense of normalcy and familiarity, while helping you stay on track toward reaching your goals.
News outlets and social media are littered with continuous updates and conflicting information on what's going on in the world around us. People expressing different opinions, news about increasing case counts, accounts of aggression and violence in public places; it can all become overwhelming! Making sure to limit your exposure to these sources, especially if you are noticing a decline in your mood or overall mental health can be helpful. Additionally, increase your exposure to things that make you feel good. Follow a page that focuses on your favorite animal, put a picture of an inspiring quote as your phone background, or read a feel good story.
If you are someone who used to work in an office or outside of your home, adapting to this new environment may come with some challenges. Where possible, create a space in your home that is designated for work that allows you to walk away from it when you clock out. If you are working on your couch and feel the stress and anxiety caused by your job, those negative emotions may trickle into your leisure time if you are watching television in the same spot. Try to find a way to leave work in a different place when you are done to have a sense of being disconnected from it during your down time.
Since you are spending time at home a lot more, and many of the activities that were once available are no longer open, people sometimes forget to find new ways to have fun during this time. Overall, this can impact your sense of well-being and satisfaction with life. I recognize that it is not an easy task to come up with ideas on how to include leisure in your life when you are feeling so limited. Some ideas may include finding new trails in your neighborhood to explore outdoors, trying one new recipe per week, playing online games with friends, investing in a new board game if you live with others, or joining an online fitness group. Whatever you choose, try to engage with it at least once per week and include it into your routine.
It is important to remember that while these tips may be helpful, it is okay if you are still feeling down after trying to implement them. Make sure to reach out for support from family, friends, and mental health professionals if you feel like you need help getting through these unprecedented times. Remember that no matter what - You are not alone.
Jessica Landry, M.Ed., RP (Qualifying)