- Build Structure – Write a schedule of activities at night that you will complete the next day. Having a routine and some structure to your day will help you maintain a positive mindset, keep negative emotions at bay, and increase your productivity.
- Get Adequate Sleep – Adequate sleep is anywhere from 7-9 hours. This varies based on age but for most it is between 7-9 hours. The most important thing is that you wake up feeling RESTORED. Regulate your sleep cycle by getting up the same time every day regardless of when you fall asleep (but try to get that 7-9hrs). Practice relaxation exercises before bedtime—try guided meditation, body scan, or progressive relaxation. Search for guided videos on YouTube.
- Limit Watching The News and Using Social Media – Try to engage in activities outside of watching the news and using social media. Put your phone down when you’re eating, spending time with people, or engaging in an alternate activity. Scrolling and reading about the same news stories again and again will increase symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- EXERCISE – I cannot stress the importance of exercise more. It is a PROVEN MOOD BOOSTER and effective stress management tool. I have provided a list of home workouts you can engage in here.
- Eat A Balanced Meal – I have provided a list of immune boosting foods here. These foods are also very healthy for you and will enhance your overall well-being. When we eat healthy we FEEL HEALTHY!
- Practice Gratitude – It may feel like we do not have a lot to be grateful for right now but take a minute to look around you. Even in the most challenging situations there are people and things in our lives to be grateful for. Set aside 20 mins fo your day to practicing gratitude by writing a list of things you’re grateful for. Try to write down 10 things you’re grateful for (ex. My pet, my partner, having a home, Netflix, etc).
- Develop a self-care toolkit – This is based on the individual (YOU!). Many successful self-care strategies involve a sensory component utilizing the seven senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell, vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (comforting pressure). An idea for each: a soft blanket or stuffed animal, hot tea or hot chocolate, photos of pets/vacations/family, comforting music, frankincense, lavender or eucalyptus oil, a small swing or rocking chair, a weighted blanket. Writing in a journal, reading a book, or a mandala coloring book is wonderful, bubbles to blow or blowing watercolor on paper through a straw are visually appealing as well as work on controlled breathing. Mint gum, ice cream, ginger ale, frozen Starburst, ice packs, and cold are also good for anxiety regulation.
- Practice Mindfulness – Never has this been more important. We are experiencing a global pandemic and it is easy to get caught up in what’s happening in the news, on social media, etc. Mindfulness is not just meditation (if you do decide to meditate try looking for a guided meditation video on YouTube)! While meditation is great there are other ways to increase your awareness including;
5-4-3-2-1 Coping Technique for Anxiety and Awareness
- 5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a pen, a spot on the ceiling, anything in your surroundings.
- 4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. …
- 3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. …
- 2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. …
- 1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste.
9. Communicate with Others – Not all of us live with someone and sometimes the people we live with are not necessarily the ones we want to communicate with. Reach out to someone you love or care about. Working at home can be isolating and challenge our sense of connection with others. Take at least an hour every day to connect with friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, and loved ones through texting, phone calls, and FaceTime. Start or join weekly groups on Google Hangout, House Party, or Zoom.
10. Do Something Creative – You have time on your hands even if you’re working from home now that you are limited to social interaction, events, shows, etc. Try your hand at something creative—maybe something you’ve done before or something you have never tried. Try (if you have the tools or can order them) painting, drawing, writing a journal, writing a blog, etc.
11. Set Goals – Write our your short-term and long-term goals, plan for buying a house, start a blog, plan for school, plan for starting a business, etc. Now is the time to plan your future!
12. Notice the GREAT in the world – There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information to take in regarding this pandemic. There are also a ton of stories of people sacrificing, donating, and supporting one another in miraculous ways. It is important to counterbalance the heavy information with the hopeful information
13. Radical Acceptance. We are doing too many things at this moment, under fear and stress. This does not make a formula for excellence. Instead, give yourself what Marsha Linehan calls “radical acceptance”: accepting everything about yourself, your current situation, and your life without question, blame, or pushback. You cannot fail at this—there is no roadmap, no precedent for this, and we are all truly doing the best we can in an impossible situation.
14. LAUGH – Even in dark times there is humor to be found. There are thousands of funny memes online, funny movies to be watched, stand-up comedy, parody videos on YouTube, and comedy accounts on social media. Take the time to look up something that will make you laugh at least 3x a day.
15. Remember “This Is Temporary” – It may feel like this pandemic will never end. However, this, like everything else in life WILL PASS. Please take time to remind yourself that although this is very difficult, and will go on for an undetermined amount of time, it will pass. We will return to feeling safe, supported, busy, and connected in the days ahead.
A cognitive distortion is an exaggerated pattern of thought that’s not based on facts. It consequently leads you to view things more negatively than they really are. Here are the most common cognitive distortions below. Read more…