Five Ways I’m Coping with COVID
Updated: Aug 13, 2020
My pandemic experience has been split into two parts: Pregnancy and Postpartum. The pregnancy part was all about survival. I was working from home, parenting a toddler, and dealing with the throes of a quarantined third trimester. I was barely coping because I was merely trying to make it from day to day while navigating this new normal without simply walking into traffic. I knew that if I could just make it to P’s birth that I could unload a few things (work and being pregnant) and make space for coping and adjusting.
I’m someone who is fiercely protective of my mental health. I’m acutely aware of even the slightest dip in my mental capacity, and I’m known to make decisions to let go of things that no longer serve me based on that. So fast forward to being 10 weeks postpartum with the threat of rolling back opening (as we should since we already botched this once) and I’m working to put some key practices in place to arrive on the other side of COVID as mentally intact as possible.
Therapy - Every Friday I virtually show up to my standing date with my therapist. I’ve been seeing my boy Joel for 4.5 years now so continuing that was obviously the first items on my COVID coping strategies list. The switch to virtual visits took all of one week to get used to and now it feels extremely normal to talk to him via FaceTime rather than our in-person visits. Right now can be a really difficult time to find a new therapist, so if you’re looking to begin therapy I know people who’ve had success with online programs such as Better Help.
Medication - If you’ve been struggling hard, medication is also an option. PLEASE NOTE: I am not advocating that you cover up any real problems you may be having with medication or that you skip doing the work of therapy and go right to medication. What I am saying though is that if you have to go this route you should feel zero shame about it. I have been on Zoloft for about four years now through both pregnancies. To be honest I don’t even want to think about what that first leg of quarantine would have been like had I not been medicated. Zoloft works well for me and my family as it keeps both my depression and my anxiety at manageable levels....something we all need right now.
Physical activity - Now may not be the time for you to train for a marathon, however, moving your body in a way that serves you is very important. Even if it’s a 15-minute walk, it’s going to be good for your mind and body. Now, health experts will say you should get at least 30 minutes of activity daily, however, I feel like those health experts didn’t have two kids. My motto is to get in what you can fit in and call it macaroni. We recently got a Peloton so I’ve been using that to get some exercise in.
Limited news intake - While I’m not for cutting news out completely, I do think limiting your intake can do wonders! At the very beginning of quarantine, I watched the news all day long while I worked and found it just added to my stress. A week or so in I decided to limit how much news I was watching, opting instead for an hour or so in the morning and an hour or so at night. This made me feel a lot less anxious! Trust me, you will not miss anything this way. It’s all repeated one million times throughout the day and anything breaking newsworthy will fill up your social timelines anyways.
Getting back into old hobbies - Dust off that Cricut, pull out those bread pans or whip out that stamp collection. Finding something productive outside of work is also good for your mental health. For me, this has been getting back to cooking. I know working from home makes the lines between work and home oh so blurry, but really try to set some hard deadlines on the end of your workday to fit in something just for you.
A reality break - For me, this is often watching trashy tv, but for you, this can be reading a book, scrolling through a bunch of fashion bloggers on insta, whatever gets your mind off our current reality if only for 30 minutes. Sometimes doing something totally unproductive to my day feels like a form of self care to me.
I’m curious about what are some of your coping strategies are? These times are hard so I feel like anything other than heroin is complete in play.