It’s more important now than ever for us to prioritize self-care and develop positive coping strategies that can help us move through our day to day life while living in a world of uncertainty. Coping skills look different for everyone and it may take some time to develop a set of strategies that consistently work for you. However, having the right tools in your “coping toolbox” can be essential to mitigating stressors and improving your mental health.
Here are some ideas for coping during this time:
Validate your emotions. Whether you feel anxious, fearful, sad, overwhelmed, uncertain, hopeless, frustrated, angry, or any other emotion, remember that your feelings are valid. You may feel a mixture of several emotions at once, and that is okay, too. Try to observe your emotions and practice mindful acceptance of them. Pushing feelings down or invalidating your emotions can often lead to more distress in the long-term.
Focus on taking small steps that are within your control. Even very small positive actions can add up to big positive changes over time. For example, this could look like reaching out to a friend to talk when you need support or making sure to eat a meal on time to help promote physical health. Ask yourself if there is any action you can take, even if it’s very simple, to help give yourself a sense of empowerment when moving through your daily routines.
Stay connected. Socializing and staying connected to people looks a lot different now than it used to. See if you can find ways to stay connected to your support network even during times where being together in person may not be possible. This might look like scheduling a FaceTime call with your family or enjoying socially distant activities with your friends.
Take breaks from media when needed. We are often flooded with a constant stream of information from many media platforms, and it can become overwhelming to be constantly processing so much new data on an ongoing basis. If you are feeling stressed out, don’t be afraid to let yourself take a break. Maybe this means turning off your phone for a few hours or taking a time out to watch your favorite lighthearted Netflix show.
Engage in self-care. Self-care looks different for everyone, and there is no right or wrong way to do it! Spend some time thinking about what self-care means to you and see if you can create a plan for how to integrate self-care into your routines. You might even jot down some ideas on a notecard to keep handy to help remind yourself of what self-care practices help you to feel recharged.
Practice self-compassion. See if you can practice meeting yourself with compassion and kindness during this time. It’s not easy to be faced with all of the stressors and challenges that a pandemic can bring, and it’s okay to not be okay. Remind yourself of your own strengths and resiliencies which have helped you to get through adversity in the past.
To learn more about building a coping skills toolbox, reach out to one of our licensed counselors today.