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Mental Health During Covid-19

Stress is a natural response, and helpful in small doses. Learn how to cope with the current situation to mitigate high levels of stress and maintain your well-being

Month One

It's now been about a month in quarantine and there have been so many ups and downs. At first was denial, "this can't be happening!". Then came anger "this is terrible!". Bargaining next, "I'll stay home, just let us have summer!". Sadness after, "we are losing so much". And finally, acceptance. This past month has been about grieving in a way, I am very thankful that I am healthy, my family is healthy, and that we will get through this. However, the mental strain of it all is not easy.

Something that I live by (or try to as best I can), is creating space for my feelings. What we resist persists as they say. Yet we've never been in a situation quite like this. Some of us have decided to quarantine with our family, while others are going at it alone. Both have emotional outcomes that are stress inducing. So what can we do to help ourselves during these unprecedented times?

Our needs have changed to basic necessities. Food, shelter, etc. Emotions may not be at the top of the list, but finding solace can make the experience more bearable. Cueing in and finding out what you need, whether it's five minutes of alone time or five minutes of connection, can shift the emotional environment. Adapting to the present circumstances, even if we are unhappy about it, can empower us and illustrate our resilience in ways we may not have thought possible. As the saying goes- mind over matter.

Personally, the lack of movement in time was what was most difficult for me. It feels as though everything has been paused, yet the months keep passing. The loss of time, our most precious commodity, has not been easy to deal with. With some inspiration from others, I decided to make a schedule of what my ideal day looks like in order to help me feel productive- that time wasn't being wasted. And through this exercise, I landed on what it really means to do my best. Is it my best in general? Probably not. But relative to what it could be, heck yes! And that makes me feel good about myself. Adapting can be tough, but it is well worth it when compared to what the alternative is- having our circumstance get a hold of us, rather than having a hold on our circumstances. Each of our circumstances are different, and therefore what our best looks like will be different.

Here are a few things I have found to boost my sense of well-being:

1. Make an ideal day schedule

2. Get moving. Endorphins are wonderful and free.

- YouTube is a great free resource for workouts at home, no equipment required

3. Meditation

- Calm is a free app

4. If possible, get fresh air as much as you can

One note on the ideal day schedule- it's what's ideal, which may not always mean it can be done 100%. In fact, I very rarely do everything on my schedule but even doing a few things makes me feel productive and accomplished.

My Ideal Day

Everyone's ideal day will look different. A mother with 3 kids at home will have a day very different from a hospital worker at the front lines. The point is to find what your best is in this moment, in this day, and aim for that. If its just one thing off the list, great! Thats ok, meeting ourselves where we are creates compassion, love, and understanding for ourselves as well as others. Here's to brighter days ahead!

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