Let’s face it. These days, emotions are running high. And understandably so. In a society where we are used to Googling how to do life—e.g., “How to build a bird cage” or “How to get in shape,” we are suddenly at a loss since we can’t exactly type into a search engine, “How to navigate a COVID-19 existence.”
Because we have entered unchartered territories, we may alternate between moments of feeling fine and moments of total terror. Just so you know, if you awake in the wee hours of the morning thinking, “I don’t know what to do,” “I don’t know what to think,” or “I don’t know how to live,” you are totally normal. And that’s because our world suddenly feels inside out and backward. When we run into someone we know out in public, we can no longer greet them with a handshake or a hug. That feels odd. And when someone has passed away, we aren’t allowed to attend the funeral to console the mourning. That’s also sad and unsettling.
When the coronavirus spiraled into our world like an F5 tornado, it wreaked havoc on life as we knew it. I don’t think that any of us conceived of the day when schools would shut down, followed by churches, restaurants, gyms, doctor’s offices, beaches, parks, movie theaters, retail stores, barbers, hair salons, amusement parks. We didn’t anticipate concerts, sporting events, parties and even the Magic Maker itself, Disney World, halting indefinitely. On top of that, in the blink of an eye, we suddenly went from shopping with abandon to feeling uneasy partaking in completely mundane tasks like pumping gas and cruising the aisles of a grocery store.
As we tiptoe back into safely resuming normal life, let’s give each other grace, kindness and the benefit of the doubt. The “we’re all in this together” mantra is meant to remind us that although we may be feeling lonely, disconnected, scared, frustrated or confused, we are not the only ones harboring such feelings.
Below are five tips for picking yourself up when you’re feeling down:
Explore nature. Inhaling fresh air, hearing the birds sing and watching the squirrels scamper brings true healing power. In today’s world where we are inundated with disheartening news stories, overwhelming statistics and heated opinions on social media, it’s smart to put down the phone and lace up your shoes. Stepping outside has never been more important.
Connect with a pet or a vet or a jet. Not to get all Dr. Seuss on you, but the point is to try and get your mind off your own worries by focusing on something or someone else. That might mean playing with your dog or cat. It may involve dropping supplies at a VA center. Or it may be looking skyward to enjoy a flyover to boost societal morale. The idea is to get outside your own head, especially if you tend to perseverate on negative or anxious feelings.
Listen to the music your parents used to play around the house when you were a kid. Trust me, it’s the closest thing you’ll get to a time machine, and transporting yourself back to a happier, simpler headspace is just what the doctor ordered.
Declutter a room. I know it doesn’t sound like fun, and it’s not necessarily fun while you’re in the midst of doing it, but wow — the joy you feel when a space is free of excess is truly exhilarating. Even my 9-year-old, whose room was an unmitigated disaster, admitted that when it was picked up and organized, he felt less oppressed. He even claimed he slept better in a clean room!
Make a gratitude journal. In times like these, it’s easy to focus on the losses, the negativity and the things we are missing out on. But a change in focus can quickly shift a gloomy mood. Doing this activity with your spouse or children is a great way to not only bond as a family but acknowledge the many blessings that surround us daily.