As you may know, my full time job is actually as a mental health counselor. During these uncertain times surrounding COVID-19, the practice I work at has already shifted to offering only telehealth services. Like many others around the globe today, I am also confined to my apartment, working from home and only interacting with my husband (yes, I got married!) and my two dogs. Although we have all always craved more time at home, this much confinement to our homes and lack of social interaction can lead to a negative mindset and negative behaviors.
With all of that said, I wanted to provide you with some tips to cope more effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tip #1: Plan your day.
Something that can be very helpful is to plan your day before you begin. You can also think of this as creating an agenda.
We are creatures of routine and we have all become accustomed to living our weekly lives by an agenda. I’m not sure what yours may look like, but I am sure that most people have specific times to do certain activities each day. So, although you may be stuck indoors, you should continue this method.
Plan when you will eat to avoid overeating or under-eating. Plan a time for exercise. If you can’t go outside, there are many free at home exercise routines on YouTube! Set aside a time to call a loved one or friend. Prepare time for self-care, beginning a new hobby, starting a book club… or really, anything else that you could enjoy from the comfort of your own home!
Tip #2: Do not sleep in everyday.
I know that, especially if your job from home doesn’t begin at 8AM like me, it can be so very tempting to sleep in. But I would caution against that. So much of your day could be wasted if you choose to begin sleeping in and your sleep pattern could get off balance as well. The later you sleep in, the later you will begin staying up at night. Keep in mind that, God willing, we will be back to our normal routines at some point!
I would also caution against taking long naps. Naps are great! I absolutely adore them. But once again, you can sleep your day away and may even end up losing any motivation you did have. For example, I napped for thirty minutes today and when my alarm off I wanted to keep sleeping. It took so much energy to peel myself off the couch and walk my dogs, but I’m glad that I did actually get up!
Tip #3: Find a purpose for each day.
Humans need purpose. We need a reason for each day. So, find something! Maybe your purpose for one day is cleaning out the junk drawer in your kitchen that you haven’t touched in months… or is that just me?
Whatever it may be, find something to do with purpose each day.
Tip #4: Disconnect from the news and social media when needed.
During this time, most of us are glued to our cell phones and the television. We want constant updates and many times we turn to Facebook for our stream of content as the day progresses. But keep in mind that this can take a toll on you emotionally and mentally. It is imperative that you take a break from information surrounding the virus and simply rest.
Take time out of your day away from this content to offer your mind the chance for peace.
This would also be a good time to engage in meditation, journaling, expressive art, or any other way that you prefer to channel your emotions.
Tip #5: Find a counselor.
If COVID-19 is taking a toll on your emotional and mental health, it would be helpful to find a counselor. There are several online platforms for counseling that you can find for an affordable price. In addition to this, most counseling practices are offering teletherapy now! This means you can receive counseling from a nearby practice from your own home.
Do not let any stigma prevent you from seeking help if you need it. Life can be challenge as it is, and with the anxiety surrounding COVID-19, we all need someone to talk to. It is okay to reach out to a counselor.
If a counselor is not an option, reach out to someone! Find a friend or a loved one who can be your support system during this time.
Tip #6: Connect with God.
We have all craved time so that we could grow our relationships with God. Well, now we have received that time. Carve out time during your day to read in the Word, pray, watch a sermon, or even join an online Bible study!
Through these dark times, the Lord is our source of hope and light. Seek Him.