Experiencing a world-wide pandemic is a lot like a rollercoaster ride. Over the past year and a half, there have been many things we could not control or predict, and an array of intense emotions. We have made progress, and we have had setbacks. If you have felt off-balance, it is completely normal.
Now that we have life-saving vaccines and medical treatments to battle COVID-19, things are getting back to a new normal. It’s time to imagine life OFF the rollercoaster. There are several things you can do to find a sense of balance in your everyday life.
Be gentle with yourself and others—This is a time to give ourselves and each other some grace and forgiveness. It’s important to remember we are all doing the best we can. You may feel more tired than usual, or lack the motivation to get things done. It’s okay to rest, physically and mentally. Remember tomorrow is another day.
Practice gratitude—Naming the things for which you are grateful is a good way to change your attitude for the better. Keep a journal by your bedside and take a few moments to list three things you are grateful for each night before bed. It will help you relax and create a positive frame of mind, setting you up for a good night’s sleep.
Stay in the present—Worry and regret are all about the past and future. It’s easy to get ourselves worked up about things we can’t control, and completely miss the present moment. Staying in the present takes practice! Start by taking slow and deep breaths, counting to five as your belly expands and contracts. You can also learn to be more present by noticing the things around you on a walk, using an adult coloring book, getting lost in your favorite music, or listening to a guided meditation app on your phone.
Take a step back from conflict—Everyone is experiencing pandemic stress and chaos. Little things can trigger us and cause conflicts at home and work. When you feel friction, don’t take it personally. Check in with the person and ask them if everything is okay. Chances are, they had a hard day, or they are struggling with something completely unrelated to the current situation.
Find someone to help—A great way to restore a sense of balance is to help others. When we volunteer our time to do something nice for someone else, it gives us a boost of self-esteem. Read a book to a child, walk dogs at a shelter, take a hot dish to a sick friend, or rake leaves for an elderly neighbor. We forget about our own troubles for a while and make a difference for someone else. Volunteering can give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and result in a profound sense of purpose and mastery.
If you or someone you love is struggling to find emotional balance since the pandemic, call Southeast Health Group at 1-800-511-5446.