Change comes daily under normal circumstances. These are not normal circumstances. Change under the pandemic comes quickly. It’s relentless. If you allow yourself to become completely overwhelmed and stressed out by the rapid changes, know you’re not alone. Take a deep breath and consider the following:
1. Recognize and acknowledge that things are changing. Fighting change will prevent you from actually dealing with the changes that are happening. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that you’re going to be ok.
2. All change is stressful. Even positive changes cause stress. During a crisis, definitely most changes aren’t positive. Anything you can do to relieve stress now, can help you manage change.
3. Make a regular schedule. Especially in the midst of a crisis where things are changing rapidly, having a schedule can give you a sense of control. Just don’t get too attached to your schedule because… You got it… Things change.
4. Eat well and eat healthy. Since change causes stress, often stress causes “stress eating.” Suddenly cookies, cake, muffins, sweets, and anything else that isn’t good for us become staples. While an occasional indulgence is useful in helping your mood, maintaining heathy nutritional eating patterns will yield better results in managing stress.
5. Keep moving. Exercise isn’t a cure-all and yet, it seems that it helps so many aspects of your being. We are embodied beings so keeping your body moving feels good and will help you to stay in shape. Exercise also staves off anxiety and depression. Movement releases chemicals in the body that improve mood and reduce anxiety. So, exercise helps mind, body, and soul.
6. Don’t go it alone. Get some support. Even if you are sheltering-in place alone, reach out through the phone, online, and on apps to friends and family. We are all experiencing many of these changes together. It helps to realize that you aren’t alone in facing change.
7. Accentuate the positive. Practice gratitude. Focus on what you actually have available to you. Are you housed? Do you have food? Do you still have some money coming in? Did you make it through another day? No matter how dark things get, there’s always something going on that can help you have a more positive outlook.
8. Let it out. Don’t completely repress your feelings of anger and frustration. Vent a little bit. Having a group of friends online to whom you can vent is helpful. Don’t vent too much. What you want to do is vent enough so that you can get to the point where you can think more clearly to get creative in problem solving to manage change.
9. Turn it off. Turn off your phone for a while. Turn off the television. Don’t read the latest news 24/7. All you need to do is to find out enough about the changes around you to be able to keep yourself safe and make it through another day. You don’t need to completely immerse yourself in the stress of being bombarded with intense news.
10. Give yourself a break. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find yourself freaking out and unable to cope sometimes. These are difficult times. No one can manage change perfectly. Allow yourself to freak out a little bit and then pick yourself back up by getting some support. Be gentle with yourself.