Keeping it together through COVID Worries: Robust Mental Health in a Time of Social Distancing

Are you feeling all COVID worries right now? Having trouble consistently keeping it together? Feeling okay and calm one minute while you laugh at what someone gets up to in their free time, only to lose your shizzle the next moment because you dripped peanut butter on your sock? (The ones that you finally changed after a few days.)

I have heard all the reactions! (As a therapist, even those ones that must-not-be-named.) While at times people are experiencing relief of less social pressure, others are up all night with anxiety about the ever-changing landscape of our world, worried about finances, food, our businesses, and our friends and family, and absolutely missing human connection. I find that humans are on overload, and tapped out of mind space with not much room for more.

I’m feeling the COVID worries big-time. There is a lot of clutter up in my mind. You?

I have a single client who feels like her friends aren’t very understanding of what her quarantine has been like be ALONE and working from home 15 hours a day in a demanding job that is trying to adapt at laser speed to do things virtually. I said, “People are tapped out trying to hold up all the plates with an uncertain future.”

If you struggling with keeping it together, you are not going crazy. If you feel angry, sad, quiet, calm, hopeful, despairing, overwhelmed, wiped out, irritated, afraid, bereaved, worried, and lonely, you are not mentally ill. You will not lose your mind. This is a human reaction to what is happening with this global pandemic. You are normal.

covid worries
Surviving COVID-19!

Why we have covid worries

Feeling emotionally overwhelmed really tends to freak people out. It feels horrible and this makes them worry that it is wrong. Nothing is wrong. You are human. It would be weird not to react.

This is an anxiety-provoking situation (on top of all our regular stressors) that is impacting every aspect of our life. It came seemingly out of the blue, and is threatening to our bodies, our livelihoods, our loved ones, and well, our entire way of life. It makes us feel totally out of control. Plus, fear makes people argue with each other. And, it seems that when you look online, that is all you see, making us feel even more powerless.

So, are we just destined to have anxiety now? Actually, this is where there is some good news. You don’t have to judge yourself for feeling stressed and overwhelmed, because it is understandable in this context, and also, blessedly, you don’t have to live with it.

Signs that you are burned out

If you are having trouble sleeping, you are busier than you ever were, you feel anxious, exhausted, extra quiet, constantly worried, indifferent, unmotivated, having trouble remembering, headachy, eating all the time, or drinking too much, you are probably experiencing burnout. Watch my video on this:

How are we going to recover from the collective trauma?

Ways to Release the Toxic Stress of it All

Here is how you ditch covid worries:

  1. Stop letting it in. Watch video below>
  2. Release it. (Get my free Release Toxic Stress MP3!)
  3. Keep practicing 1 and 2.

Most of us humans are pretty sensitive to what is going on in the world around us. And, right now there is a lot coming in. So we have to be consistently blocking it from coming in and releasing it when it does. And all the while, we need to have total and utter compassion for ourselves.

Other than that, there are tons of things you can do to keep yourself emotionally healthy right now.

Ways to Stay Mentally Healthy During Quarantine:

  • Keep a routine: This settles your mind and minimizes how much it is racing. It also helps you get in all the other things that keeps you emotionally well.
  • Make sure you move. Whether it is dancing, walking or exercising, you’ll want to move your body. This helps clear the mind and build confidence by helping you feel empowered instead of powerless. It also feeds your brain with feel-good hormones and is good for overall health. 
  • Have a sense of purpose each day. This could be a small goal or working towards your bigger life goals. It can also be helping someone in need.
  • Connect with someone. Whether you are staying alone or with people, make a heart to heart connection each day to keep you grounded and connected to your sense of self. 
  • Be creative. Your mind has a large capacity to do things. If it is not used for good, your imagination will fill it with negativity. To get rid of this, find a project to exercise your mind with productive, fun and confidence building activities.
  • Stay in the present moment.

6 Ways Parents can Help Kids Right Now

Here are some ideas to stamp out covid worries:

Meet with a therapist via teletherapy.

Keep your brain stimulated with puzzles, creativity, problem solving, learning something new or other novel activities. (The brain needs novelty once in a while so it doesn’t get bored and look for problems!)

Keep in touch with people. Especially if you are alone, make sure you are checking in with someone often – have a quarantine buddy! Check out my news bit on this!

Write. Journal, write poems, stories, or screen plays. Get your thoughts on paper. This is a great way to document this time in history. It also helps you process the stress and make meaning from a higher perspective.

Catch up on your reading. Fiction, too! This will be novel stories for the mind to play in.

Make something. Or, cook something new. Take a class.

Upgrade your physical space. Clear your clutter, create a home altar, rearrange furniture, clear out your laptop, your phone or you business or home documents. Getting rid of things has a physical effect to clear the mind. A study in California found that an increase of clutter increases family member’s stress hormones, especially the moms!  

Meditiate. Color.

Interview someone over Video chat with an interesting history.

Support local businesses. Donate to the food bank. Ask someone who is vulnerable if you can shop for them.

Train your dog, or like so many people I see on Facebook, get a new puppy!

Upgrade your resume or CV.

Laugh with someone.

Do deep breathing. Inhale and exhale slowly. Exhale longer than the inhale to calm your nervous system down. Breathe low into the tummy keeping your shoulders relaxed.

Step away from the news. There is nothing new. In fact, take a break from screens each day and do something with your hands.

2 thoughts on “Keeping it together through COVID Worries: Robust Mental Health in a Time of Social Distancing”

  1. Thank you for this Jodi. I work a lot so I don’t really have time to do much of these, but since I realized that the time I was giving for work wasn’t being productive, I am giving now at least 2 hours a day to do something else like reading or listening to the videos. One hour is dedicated to a daily live facebook of chanting and meditation with over 3000 people from all over the world. It is very helpful. It does calm the anxiety, a lot.

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