normalcy during pandemic

by Robin mcgraw

Normally, with summer just around the corner, this is the time of year when people are looking forward to getting out, enjoying backyard BBQs and planning beachy getaways. But with Coronavirus standing between us and a carefree, social summer, it’s becoming harder than ever to get excited about the weeks and months to come. By now, you may know someone who’s been affected, and you’re bracing yourself for what’s next. So many things lie beyond our control, including what efforts others around us will make to protect us, how our families and friends will be impacted, and even how long the pandemic will last. As someone who really prefers knowing what’s coming my way next, that’s a tough pill to swallow! For many people it’s becoming second nature to search the internet constantly for answers and invent worst-case-scenarios as a newfound hobby. But experts are saying as long as we’re concentrating on questions with unknowable answers and circumstances outside of our individual control, this approach will do much more harm than good, and leave us feeling exhausted, fearful, and overwhelmed. This is one of those times when how we look at the situation, will determine how well we handle whatever the future holds.

Catch yourself if you start to go down a rabbit hole of worry. Combat negative feelings by incorporating routines to maintain a feeling of normalcy. Follow a schedule! Get up, take a shower, get dressed! Eat your meals and snacks at the same time you normally would. By keeping a schedule, continuing your hobbies, limiting exposure to news and practicing positive thinking, you can shift how much this new normal affects your mental wellbeing.

A few tips to help adjust your outlook from hopeless to hopeful:

  • Do your hair/makeup like it's a "normal" day even though we aren't living our normal day-to-day lives. You know your laundry was all done by week two of this thing, so put on your favorite outfit and pretend you have somewhere great to go.

  • Thank goodness for YouTube! Can you imagine surviving a pandemic without the internet? Learn to dance, take up yoga, play an instrument or learn to cook! The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

  • Whose mani/pedi is on its very last legs? Guilty! Gather up your cuticle oil, buff block, and best polish, soak your hands and feet and paint your nails! Add a little nail art for an extra ambitious touch. A drop of polish remover or acetone can revive older polishes that have thickened over time.

  • Organize that section of your house you always "mean to" when you get the time. There really is no time like the present! Clean out that junk drawer, sort your storage shed, or finally face your “Monica Geller closet”. Add tasks into your life that you've never had time for before, since now we have nothing but time.

If you feel yourself getting carried away by the fear of “what if?”, try to consciously shift your energy to things that are within your control. Embrace your inner controller by working to keep yourself and your family safe and your mind on things that are productive and positive.  Take time to do at least one thing every day that makes you feel happy, and please above all else, remember to give yourself a break.

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