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Does 2020 Have You Feeling Overwhelmed, Confused, and Simply Exhausted?

To those of you who find comfort in routines, predictability, and quite frankly liked life in 2019 a heck of a lot better than the life we have today, you're certainly not alone. We know that almost all humans find comfort in organization, routine, and at least having some semi-predictability of what tomorrow will bring.

So far, 2020 has been anything but predictable and anything but routine. With one disaster after another, both political and societal unrest, and a seemingly never-ending dissension amongst varying individual and group perspectives regarding everything from politics and economics to racism, police brutality, masks, and the virus. The challenges of this year have likely touched every individual in our country in some form or fashion, and I don't know about you guys, but I, personally, find myself ready for a break (the type of break and "normalcy" that I know may not come for awhile yet).

If you haven't yet found the simple (pandemic-adjusted) pleasures that keep you going in a day or throughout the week, this too can be normal. You may simply be procrastinating pandemic-related change. Are you also known to be both loyal and strong willed? If so, it makes even more sense. This just means you've been hanging on ferociously to the way things were and are essentially boycotting the virus and all that comes with it (hopefully you've made at least the adjustments to take proper safety measures though). Holding out for things to get better is not all bad, but if you find yourself getting irritable, fatigued, or overwhelmed as you attempt to "wait out the pandemic" those symptoms may be signs that a type of pandemic-safe self care is needed. And, as much as we all want to fight against change (especially virus-related change), some positive changes may be needed in order to keep you healthy. See below for a list of pandemic-friendly self-care ideas.

Pandemic-Friendly Self-Care:

Physical health: (Provided by The Mayo Clinic)

  • Fuel your body by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water.

  • Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

  • Exercise every day.

  • Take deep breaths and stretch often.

  • Avoid risky or destructive behaviors, such as abusing alcohol or drugs, excessive gambling or ignoring public health recommendations.

  • Spend time outside, such as going for a walk in the park, but follow social distancing guidelines.

Mental health: (Provided by The Mayo Clinic)

  • Set and maintain a routine at home.

  • Focus on things you can control.

  • Use technology to maintain social connections with your loved ones. Consider a regular check-in schedule to give you something to look forward to.

  • Focus your thoughts on the present and things to be grateful for today.

  • Listen to music or read books.

  • Consume reliable news sources that report facts, and avoid media that sensationalizes emotions. Limit your exposure or take a break from news and social media if you find that it makes you anxious.

  • Lean on your personal beliefs and faith for support.

  • Look for ways to help your community, such as blood donations, checking on older people in your neighborhood, or donating supplies or money to local organizations.

  • Acknowledge and appreciate what others are doing to help you and your community.

For more tips on social/emotional health, check out this Harvard Health blog to help you understand the importance of maintaining social connection. In this blog you'll find information that can help you both assess and mitigate your risks while engaging socially.

Although a blog post, a therapy session, a day of rest or even extensive pampering and self-care routines will not solve the problems of our world today (or the problems of our micro worlds even), perhaps this and other positive engagements may serve as a constant reminder of all the choices we DO have in the midst of all the ones that were so abruptly ripped away. May you and your families find strength and courage as you fight to maintain both your mental and physical health in the midst of this virus.

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