Let’s be clear - no one saw these long-term social restrictions coming when we first heard about COVID-19. We were accustomed to rushing through days, preparing for events, and driving to and from home constantly. Suddenly life has downshifted a few gears and has shaken everyone's "normal" routine. As days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, we all experience a wide variety of emotions. Let’s look at some of those, and see what needs can be met to encourage a more positive outlook.
Have you been feeling waves of Uncertainty, Nervousness, Worry, and Confusion?
- How long will quarantine last?
- How will I be affected by all of this?
- What "normal" actions are still acceptable in my daily life?
- Am I contributing to the spread of the virus?
- Will things go back to "normal" when this is over?
The base emotion that causes these feelings is fear. When we fear things we can’t control, our only response is to face them logically. Do research to understand the facts of the source of your fear as well as we can, and make behavior changes where applicable. We don’t know how long quarantine will last, and we don’t know the extent of who will be affected, but we know that saying in quarantine lessens the spread of the virus. We also know that there are some creative ways to meet our individual needs, such as having groceries delivered, having a virtual doctor’s appointment, working remotely from our home, and exercising at home or outside. Click here to see the CDC recommendations for your particular living/health situation.
Have you been feeling waves of Loneliness, Hopelessness, Depression, Despair
- I feel completely alone.
- There is no end in sight.
- I am an extrovert and need social interactions.
- I am an introvert and need space.
- I can't do anything to help this situation.
The base emotion that causes these feelings is sadness. No matter what level of social interaction you prefer, it is much more difficult when our ability to leave our home is severely restrained. If you need more social interaction in your daily life, connect with a friend or family member, pick a date and time, and get it on your schedule. If you need more alone time, find a place in your home for solitude - it can be a bedroom, closet, basement, or any other area where you can have privacy. While there, read, meditate, pray, write, draw, or simply enjoy the silence. Ultimately, we don’t know how long the quarantine will last, but focusing on the facts and the things you can control can help you to balance your mood.
In response to both Sadness and Fear, we can choose to participate in activities to inspire creativity, appreciation, bravery, contentment, positivity, curiosity, hopeful, and admiration - all of which are results of the base emotion Joy. Some things that I’ve noticed/participated in that inspire joy are:
- Lots of people outside
- Families on walks
- Kids learning to ride bikes
- Outreach, Donations
- Teddy Bears, Hearts, signs in windows, messages in chalk
- Reconnecting digitally with family members near and far
- Cooking/Baking together in the kitchen
- Creating something new - building, painting, writing, etc.
- Thank You cards for medical, essential workers
- Voicing gratitude
These are just a few examples of positive things to focus on. What are some things you’ve noticed that has encouraged or inspired you? Tell us in the comments!
If you feel overwhelmed with feelings of fear, anger, or sadness, you are not alone. Click here for various ways to seek assistance.