Tips to Deal with Hardships During COVID-19
COVID-19 has been hard on a lot of people. Problem is... for those who are experiencing an even harder time during this crisis may not feel like they have an outlet to cope.
They don't want to bother others because everyone else is dealing with their own issues and they aren't able to use their other resources because many places are closed to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
So what can you do? How can you cope?
Believe me, I have faced an unexpected hardship during COVID-19 and it was quite the adjustment. My dog of 12 years had to undergo emergency brain surgery and I was honestly scared. I wasn't able to see him before or see the doctor's expressions when they were telling me the options we had. For someone who utilizes body language to analyze information, I had to go on instincts, which is scary when your family member's life depends on making the right decision.
And I get it... not everyone values the life of a dog as highly as I do, but my dog is part of my family. He has been with me during the best of times and worst of times. To snuggle and be there with no judgement.
To get me through this hardship on top of all the crap that COVID-19 has brought to us, I came up with these tips that I want to pass along to you.
Be honest about your feelings - Trying to push your feelings aside and ignoring them can causes more damage in the end. Not only for your mental health but for your physical health as well. It is best to be open about what you are experiencing and to express them freely. For me, this helped me connect with myself and also with my kids. I want to show them that it is ok to be upset and the healthiest thing is to be honest about it. Plus I want them to learn that when in times of need that it is ok to talk about it with others. It also allowed me to be honest with them about what was going on, while keeping in mind their developmental level. Lastly, it allowed me us to have a conversation and for me to see their feelings about everything that was going on.
Give yourself an emotional timeout when needed - When we connect with how we are feeling we can assess when things are just too much and we need a break. Especially when dealing with anger, it is important to take a time out to let your body cool down. When we experience overwhelming emotions our bodies become flooded and it gets in the way of us being able to think properly. Which can cause us to make the wrong decisions, act out, lash out at others, etc. I recommend to utilize a scale of 1 to 10 of emotions, where one is completely chill and ten is smoke coming out of your ears. If you feel that you are getting to a 6/6.5, then it may be time to take a time out.
What does your day look like? - Take a look at what you have on your plate and evaluate what NEEDS to get done, what you can let go of (and give yourself permission to fully let it go) and what would help you throughout the day. For example, I need to take care of my kids. That is a non-negotiable. I can let go of doing laundry. Plus, I hate doing laundry anyways. And what would help me is to clean. Sounds weird, but when I am cleaning I feel less mind-cluttered and more relaxed.
Use your resources - Now, your resources may be more limited because of COVID-19, but that doesn't mean that they are non-existent. You just have to have to think more creatively. Plus I am sure you probably still have a friend or family member that you can talk to over the phone. Try to find someone that is helpful and not judgmental. Other resources can include mental health resources, a partner, or maybe even ordering take out so you have one less thing on your plate.
Find something to connect to - This may be the hardest tip of all. Especially when we are in a negative space, trying to find the positives can be difficult. But it isn't impossible. For me, I reflected on the fact that soon I would be able to listen to his snoring (he snores very loudly, but it is cute). If you are struggling with staying at home, maybe thinking about something you want to do after we are doing with quarantine. Like a trip to your favorite restaurant or visiting family. Whatever works for you.
These are just simple tips to help you through this hardship. If you need any additional assistance, please let me know. I am offering reduced pricing for sessions and online sessions for your safety.
Be well and be safe!
Written by: Jessica Jefferson, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Perinatal Mental Health Counselor and Owner of Cloud Nine Therapeutic Services. My passion is helping individuals through heartbreak, whether that is heartbreak with others or heartbreak within themselves. My goal is to be their guide on their journey to their self-discovery so that they can build the life and relationship they want. I am here for when you want to start your journey.