The unfolding pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty in our lives. We are all effected by it. Freedoms like leaving our house have been labeled dangerous. We have lost liberties that were never questioned before. We have been humbled by the power of the natural world.

In adapting to the changes, we’ve had to accept a lot very quickly. We can’t go out to eat with friends, watch our child play in a soccer match, or take that trip we had planned until further notice.

Worse, we may have lost our paycheck. Some may have a savings, and some don’t. The reality may be that every time we leave the house to perform essential business, we take a deep breath and wonder if working for my livelihood may end up debilitating it.

When all of our routines have been changed, what can we do?

What we can do is decide how we are going to respond. This choice is the last of our human freedoms that can never be taken away. We don’t control the events in our lives, but we do control how we react to them.

We have the choice to find some meaning, purpose, or sense of direction from all of our challenges in life. This is how we develop strength and resilience. This is how we carry on despite all odds.

Because it is a collective crisis, we are all in it together. And while we are all going through the same thing, we are all going through it in very different ways.

Quick Tips for Coping with Covid:

• Use your greater support network including family, friends, and the community.
• Unplug from various media when you are feeling overwhelmed.
• Communicate with your partner. Express your feelings, fears, and needs.
• Use this time to investigate the idea that certain mind states, such as happiness, peace, or contentment, are in fact states of being, and have very little to do with where we are, or other tangible things.
• Finding a new sense of normal by doing things differently requires us to be creative and open-minded. Ingenuity enhances problem solving skills and flexes certain brain regions that our familiar routines don’t. Consider this: some of the greatest artists have stumbled upon their medium when resources were scarce.
• Help someone who is struggling. We lift ourselves by lifting others.
• Advocate to leaders and allies, (but don’t resort to blame or rage).
• Maintain structure. Daily schedules are especially helpful for kids. Knowing what’s happening next is key to providing a feeling of safety in a time where many of us feel unsafe.
• Believe in your resiliency to overcome life’s challenges. Now that we are a few weeks in, think back to the first week of the pandemic, and the feelings of shock and disbelief. Things are still strange and unfamiliar, but it’s incredible how quickly humans can adapt.

If you deal with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, you may be struggling with exacerbated symptoms. Staying inside can be a trigger to use substances, or to fall back into old patterns of thinking and behaving. Reach out to a counselor if you need, and use your coping skills:
• Practice deep breathing
• Exercise (such as going on walks or doing a yoga video at home)
• Engage in hobbies, or start a new one
• Discuss your feelings with someone you trust
• Do a guided meditation or a body relaxation exercise (check out YouTube)
• Replace unhelpful thoughts with something more rational
• Use your resources, such as telehealth- many therapists are offering discounted rates and flexible video conferencing during this time.