HOW DO I COPE DURING THE PANDEMIC?
COVID-19 and the resultant stress, anxiety and isolation have wreaked havoc on the coping abilities of even the most emotionally agile and healthy among us. With no end in sight, how do we care for ourselves in the months ahead?
Time to get back to basics, and the acronym SEEDs can be a helpful reminder.
S: Sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Get 8 hours of sleep. Reduce the use of screens in the 30 minutes before bedtime. Develop a bedtime routine or ritual that relaxes your mind and body and prepares you for rest.
E: Eating. Eat a balanced diet, emphasizing fresh fruit and vegetables. Meal plan to cut down on trips to the grocery store and to ease food preparation during the week. Aim for three balanced meals a day plus two healthy snacks. Take pleasure in your food and emphasize sensory stimulation with heat, texture, spice, color, flavor. Eat mindfully and in moderation.
E: Exercise. Move your body every day for 30 minutes, preferably in the morning. Stretch. Walk. Find a buddy for outdoor workouts or connect via online platforms to stay motivated and engaged.
D: Doctor’s orders. Manage any chronic medical conditions to avoid last minute trips to the doctor. Keep prescriptions filled and up to date. If you are prescribed medication, especially to manage mental illness, keep taking your meds as directed. Symptoms fluctuate in response to stress, so check in with your doctor regularly to address any flareups in physical or psychological distress.
It may not seem like much, but it’s the small steps that contribute to greater resiliency. Maintaining a sense of efficacy and control in small, everyday ways builds the foundation for sustainable self confidence. And tending to yourself, with compassion and discipline, is the path towards self worth.