The human toll has been extraordinary. As we move into the second year of the pandemic, there is much to be hopeful about. Biotechnology is moving quickly to produce virus combating vaccines and trying to keep up with the variance reality that can accelerate the transmission and its ultimate control. Until enough people get vaccinated which will push us toward herd immunity we all need to embrace the sensible covid protocols of mask wearing, physical distancing and keeping our social life to a minimum. What gets us to herd immunity is a collective and cooperative effort. Yes, it’s true that most of us will be fine, but sadly, many will not. What needs immediate attention is the impact this pandemic as had on our overall health – social, mental as well as physical.
Individuals as well as families have been forced to deal with restrictions on their lives never seen before. Stay at home – due to work or school policies has created some real challenges for people. Some have adapted better than others. The repetitive nature of staying at home, not being able to travel, missing out on a regular social life which are all great outlets that us humans thrive on and need has had profound effects. So what can we do to counter this social, mental and physical distancing. Here are some thoughts.
1. Get outdoors when you can. Despite the cold and bad weather which will pass soon, you need to get out of your home confines and stimulate your mind and body – walks, hikes or runs in the woods, day trips that are safe from large groups, etc.
2. Once you get vaccinated start planning a getaway. Hopefully, travel can resume soon, so having something to look forward to can pull you out of your funk and lift your spirits.
3. Try to mix up your daily routines. Being confined to your home which is also your office can take a toll on your motivation, focus and creativity. If you are stuck in a workout rut, download some cool workout apps, or invest in a peloton. Try, journaling or writing. You would be amazed how just the act of writing opens the creative process.
4. Experiment with cooking. Try new healthy recipes. Prepping your own food is often much healthier than eating out.
5. Gratitude – nothing heals the human spirit better. No matter how bored you are, how discouraged you become, or feel depressed or anxious, your situation can always be ameliorated by recalibrating your thoughts and attitudes. We are constantly reprogramming our brains whether you realize it or not. You can choose how that process goes. Your thoughts become your biology. Your biology than becomes your thoughts and on and on….
6. Mindfulness and conscious breathing – immediately reset your physiology. Most of time we spend our waking hours in a state of arousal and overstimulation ( sympathetic nervous system activation) – daily tasks, our jobs, working out, dealing with family issues or crises. Aside from sleeping where we shut this down we need to activate a more restful state ( parasympathetic nervous system activation) during the daytime. Meditation or mindfulness is very effective and can be done for 10 minutes throughout the day and really helps to reset your nervous system. There are many apps available to assist you with this.
Bottom Line: This has been a challenging time for many but if you take a moment to step back – take a deep breath and examine what is missing, what you can do and perhaps who else can help you or who might need your help, you can weather this tough time. We all have to manage adversity. We all are in this together. And especially for those living alone reach out to them or you don’t hesitate to ask for help the sooner life will feel more manageable.