Taking care of your mental and emotional well-being in the middle of a pandemic

 

It’s been a year of constant changes, adjustments, and surprises (sometimes unwanted). You would have thought you’d get used to it by now. But the thing that makes us human is the same thing that frustrates us – we always hope for better.

With the amount of social upheaval and unforeseen events that come our way, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen in the days and weeks to come. How do you create a sense of normalcy and stability when the world around you seems out of control? Here are some tips to stay sane in these challenging times.

1. Create a routine.

Humans are creatures of habit (even the most scatterbrained of us). We wake up each morning, go to the bathroom, brush our teeth, get out of our pyjamas, and start our day.

We need moments of cruise control, where our brains just go on autopilot. It takes away the stress of figuring out what to do next. When things start looking crazy, a routine helps us stay grounded. Try to stick to it as much as you can. You can even create micro-routines for different times of the day. An afternoon walk, a fifteen-minute screen break, or even a midday stretching routine can help build mental and psychological anchors into our lives. Build these into your calendar regain some control amidst a chaotic world.

2. Appreciate the present.

Things may look bleak but there are always things to be thankful for. Appreciating, acknowledging, and being in the present helps us remember that today is a gift. It helps us become aware of what’s real and what’s important.

Many times we look to the future with so much anxiety that we ignore the blessings we have in our hands. A deeper appreciation of now allows us to move forward with less fear and more hope. Savor each experience and embrace the wonder of being alive.

3. Acknowledge your emotions and limitations.

Riding life’s roller coaster can make your feelings go all over the place. There is no shame in that. Emotions are our body’s way of telling us it’s not okay. Take time to recognize what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way. Categorize your thoughts into two broad groups – things you can control and the things you can’t. Work on the things you can manage, and surrender those that are beyond you.

You are not expected or obligated to handle things that are not within your control. And while the temptation to feel anxious and unsettled still creeps in, the reminder that it’s outside your responsibilities or abilities can help you let go.

4. Call time-outs.

We all need a breather – a little time to just decompress and be alone. Some days it feels like you can’t afford to take a break. Those are the times that you should. A car can’t run on an empty gas tank.

Take time to recharge, recalibrate, and refresh your soul. It can be an hour of listening to soothing music, fifteen minutes of deep prayer, or just a few moments to breathe deeply. Uncertainty can be overwhelming and pressing pause can help give you a renewed perspective. We are not machines, and even your DVD player has the pause button. Use it when you need to.

5. Anchor yourself to the One constant.

In a world where circumstances change like shifting shadows, we can lean on the eternal, unchanging God. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Have you encountered him in your life? Have you experienced his presence lately? The noise in the world tends to drown out God’s tender whisper but make no mistake – he is there.

Find his voice and remind yourself of how the earth may fade away, but God and his word remain. We may not know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow. That in itself is enough reassurance.

What things have helped you cope with the unexpected in the past year? Share your thoughts through our social media pages so we can all learn from each other.