The coronavirus pandemic has changed life dramatically, and stress continues to mount as changes continue to happen. While some people may be settling into a different way of life, and ease may be on the horizon, there are another set of challenges that might occur.
As cities and states reopen we are now starting to move into more uncharted territory and we will all likely start to feel other unforeseen mental health challenges as we move into the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Post traumatic stress, anger and confusion are commonly known side effects of quarantine. Post traumatic stress can especially rear its ugly head in poor relationship dynamics, poor self-care habits, and out of control attachment.
Being stuck in your home by yourself or with a partner has likely changed the dynamic of your relationship with self or other, and has perhaps brought forth challenges. Being quarantined can bring to the forefront problems that have been swept under the rug and force you to get intimate with fear, change and discomfort.
Are you having relationship realizations? Did you get in your relationship for the wrong reasons, or realize you have stayed longer than you should have? Are you recognizing your poor patterns?
Money can be a great cause of stress but during this time with few places to go and minimal things to do, you might have realized you have been unnecessarily overspending in order to maintain status or impress others. With financial burden hitting some household like wildfire those excessive items might turn into a ball and chain. How can you positively change your patterns?
How are YOU?
Your social timeline has likely been flooded with sentiments about bettering yourself, self-care routines and inspiring quotes. With all of this alone time you might have realized you are not happy with yourself. Happiness is not only a choice but one you are completely responsible for making. Have you had feelings of being lonely even if you are not alone?
With most of our attention being inward, time can feel like it is moving incredibly slow. Time feels as if it is moving quickly when you feel like you haven’t done enough. Self-judgment and self-criticism can cause unrest when energy feels low, when tasks aren’t completed, and when comparisons and judgments rattle us.
Working from home, homeschooling kids, all while trying to setup a productive space and being bogged down by non-stop Zoom meetings is stressful. If working in an office is the norm for you, perhaps you are really missing socializing with your coworkers. As work stress increases, so does burnout. You are not alone.
The most important questions to ask as you navigate this crisis is, “what can I do to take care of myself, right now?”
Chronic stress is debilitating and financial stress can be unhealthily burdensome. Preoccupation with money is becoming a significant problem. Maybe it’s a loss of hours, perhaps it's furlough, or maybe you were let go indefinitely. Managing financial stress is as important as managing any other stress you might be facing. Ignoring the problem or distracting yourself to avoid the problem is guaranteed to cause much greater problems. Be open to new solutions and tap into your resources. Your best ideas won't come in fight or flight, but when you are in a state of rest and digest.
At the end of each workday take a walk. While working from home there is significant pressure to perform and be as productive as possible. With the kitchen and bathroom closer, you are likely taking less breaks and even though those breaks seem small they are important for the release of neurotransmitters. In order to shift from work to a more regular way of being at home, take a walk. Taking a walk will help you decompress from your workday. You do not have to work just because your computer is near. Create healthy boundaries for yourself.
If you are currently unemployed, you will work again. What can you do in the next six months to make sure you are where you would like to be upon your return to work?
Stress can pervade every part of your life. Do not let work stress or employment stress prevent you from taking care of yourself. You are still able to exercise. Enjoy having time to take care of yourself, your family and your home. Acknowledge the emotional impact losing a job can bring. It is unfortunate but your career is not your identity. Take time to explore your emotions, don’t ignore them. What can you do right now?
Dealing with Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is devastating and unfortunate and there are many reports in the news about an increase in domestic violence cases. Domestic violence is more than physical violence but also includes emotional violence and gas lighting. What is even more strenuous about domestic violence is that the victim oftentimes does not realize there is a problem. It remains incredibly important to stay in constant communication with close friends and family. It is also important to have an exit strategy in place. Check in on your friends and fmaily from time to time.
It’s Okay to Thrive
If you are fortunate enough to have steady work and access to resources during this time, do not feel bad for thriving. Have compassion and of course show consideration to others but know there is no reason to harbor guilt.
Taking care of each other has never been more important. As changes roll out be sure you are practicing detachment from the outcome and compassion towards yourself and others.