We are moving into the fall and winter months, which is bringing people indoors and as a result, we are seeing cases of COVID rise across the country. It may feel like things are spinning out of control for you as fear and worry are also growing.
We have limited control over a virus we cannot see and the information on how to stay safe seems to keep evolving. These are truly complex and difficult times where we could all use a few pointers on how to take a little more control back in our lives.
5-Tips to Take Control:
1- Make a Self-Care Plan: Prioritize the top three things you can focus on to stay safe and well in these next few months. Consider what you need physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to find a greater sense of balanced wellbeing. Consider what you are eating, how you are moving, what you need for rest and relaxation, where you will have fun, and how you can connect to the important people in your life. Write your priorities down along with a few ways to execute on them and commit to doing one or two things every day to bring your plan to life.
2- Limit the Time Spent and Type of Media Your Follow: We all get caught-up when our emotions are evoked by stories. Unfortunately, some of what we are hearing reported in the media today can be inaccurate and inflated. The media knows that bad news is quite eye catching – it sells airtime and captures our attention better than feel good stories. Consider the source of where you get your information from and curb the amount of time you dedicate to tuning in. This will drastically reduce the detrimental effects that are caused by hearing stories that leave you feeling negative about life, people, and the world.
3- Move More: We are more limited today in the ways we can comfortably exercise. Many of us feel like we are less likely to go to the gym or join an in-person group exercise class. Movement is one of the best stress busters, because regular exercise naturally boosts endorphins, improves our mental wellbeing, makes us feel accomplished, and helps us overcome the effects of fear, worry, and lack of control. When we exercise our sleep patterns improve, our mood gets better, and we are more likely to have positive relationships with others. It is important to find ways to regularly move our bodies, because of all the benefits we gain. Consider and plan for how you can move during the colder months. Schedule exercise into your week and enjoy the way movement makes you feel. You will be so much happier and healthier for it!
4- Try Meditation: Mindfulness and meditation downregulate our nervous system, allowing us to find clarity in our minds, calm feelings in our hearts, and a sense of connection to the peace living inside of ourselves. During meditation we take time to practice redirecting our minds, learning to better focus on details, or gain an understanding of how to step back and see the bigger picture. People who meditate are often less reactionary and more responsive in handling difficulty and effecting positive outcomes. Pick a time each day where you can sit and be with your breath, an intention, or a relaxing meditation that feels mindful and calming to you. Then, notice the effects of how your day goes. Judge your meditation not on what happens during, but on what happens after. You might just see positive changes from being more and doing less.
5- Seek Support: Connect with a friend or loved one, find a mentor, talk to a coach or counselor. We are social beings and COVID has separated us from one another. Break out of social isolation in a way that keeps you engaged with others who are positive, supportive, insightful, and encouraging. You will learn that you are not alone and that you share many of the same concerns and feelings with other people in your life. Talk about your feelings and experiences, discuss ideas on how to cope better, and have a laugh or two. You will feel so much better getting things off your chest and may find some new strategies to try.
It is a good idea to use a simple plan to help see us through each challenge or phase in our lives, adjusting to the conditions of each season, and setting a path that supports us in moving forward. These recommendations can help us look at some key areas that are proven effective in personal growth and development. You will find more success when you have a plan than not. So, recognize where you are at, consider where you want to go, and make a simple plan to take action and find the control you need to make it through with greater success and hopefully a little more ease.