So here we are... Week "who knows anymore" into this pandemic that has been affecting the entire world. Although we are no longer quarantined to our homes, things have still proven to be more difficult when trying to just get through our daily lives. Every state has a different rule or regulation on masks and social distancing, as well as requirements to quarantine after travelling. Even more, certain organizations such as the military have even stricter policies that are being enforced as an effort to slow down or stop the spread of COVID-19.
Because our daily lives have become so different, it may feel almost as though we are being forced into a lifestyle that we might not agree with or feel inconvenienced by. Of course, everyone has a different opinion on the matter and may agree or disagree with our new way of life. Whatever the case may be, everyone is still experiencing a change in their daily routine. These changes can sometimes leave us feeling irritable and annoyed or even depressed and hopeless.
So what can we do? Although life probably won't go back to the way it was before anytime soon, we can still take some steps to try to make all of this more bearable. If you feel like you are struggling with your mental health, try these 5 things to try to help yourself cope a little better.
1. Make a list. Journaling can be very powerful and helpful when trying to process difficult emotions. It can also be the most cost-effective way to cope if you have recently found yourself in some financial strain. Make a list of all the things that are currently on your mind. These can be positive things, negative things or neutral things. Don't think too hard on this and just let your mind wander.
2. Rank your list. Now go back through and rank your list items on a scale of 1-10. 1 meaning this item causes you little to no stress and 10 meaning this item causes severe anxiety. Any list item that ranks above a 7 will be your priorities to address.
3. Make comparisons. Try to think back to a time where you felt the same amount of stress as your current situation. Can you remember how that affected you? Write down what happened and how you dealt with that. See if that could apply to what is happening right now.
4. Create a Plan. Go back over your list and write down some strategies that can help you reduce your stress. Some strategies can include making time for self-care, talking to a friend or family member, scheduling an appointment for therapy, picking up a new hobby or rearranging your schedule. Sometimes creating a new routine can help drastically in reducing the unpredictability of the world's current health crisis.
5. Make changes as needed! Sometimes when we come up with a plan and then put it into action we realize that maybe it wasn't the best way to go. That's totally fine. You know yourself best and what will work best for you so don't be afraid to make changes to your plans. Most of the time when we start something new we will make mistakes and have to learn better ways to do things. Keep up with the trial and error until you find what works!
Many clients that I have helped in the past typically come back and tell me that journaling was incredibly easy and effective for them. Sometimes we just need to put all of our thoughts and worries on paper to gain a little clarity. Most of the time when we make these types of lists we will realize that our problems are not as severe as we pictured them in our heads and that they have acceptable solutions. Other times we realize that some problems are beyond our scope of understanding or processing and that is the best time to seek outside guidance through therapy.
If you or someone you know is having a tough time dealing with the changes caused by our current pandemic, please feel free to reach out to schedule a therapy appointment. I am more than willing to help out!
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Stay tuned for more posts on what Wags for Wellness is up to. As always, Be Well and Wag On!