In stressful times like these, when the threat of COVID leads to many of us hunkering down with our families to avoid infection, it’s easy to feel like we’ve lost our grounding.
We don’t have a rhythm for things like going to work, getting out to see friends, or going to community venues (swimming pools, movies, etc.). This leads, for some, to a sensation of feeling a bit disoriented, maybe even cranky or easily aggravated.
Here are three main points that might be of use to you during this time of stress (or when others inevitably come):
Increased stress brings out more of who you are. Therefore, if you’re prone to, for example, anxiety or irritability, expect that you will be vulnerable to more of these dispositions. Don’t blame yourself. Instead, plan for ways to disengage when it happens, by, for example, listening to your favorite music, playing with a pet, and hugging a loved one.
Take care of first things first: watch out for your health. Of course, keeping a safe distance is a given but taking walks are beneficial for your mental and physical health. And, if you’re one of many Americans who is spending much more time in front of a screen, make sure to push away from it and do some other activities. Excessive time in front of a screen can lead to, for example, headaches due to eye strain and sleep disruptions, which can lead to irritability (see the first bullet point above).
Don’t worry about tomorrow excessively. Focus on what you can control now and what you can reasonably plan for. Stressful events play themselves out in stages. Attempting to tell yourself you are going to jump back to normal without working through how to better ground yourself now can set you up for more stress to come.