When will we start to feel 'normal' again?
That is a tough question to answer in the midst of the current COVID-19 situation, but one that comes up fairly regularly. For just about all of us, being contained to our homes and limiting our outings is difficult. Finding ourselves telecommuting for the first time, or worse, unemployed, wishing for a semblance of normalcy is to be expected.
First, allow yourself time to grieve what's been lost. Many of us had plans during this time: vacations, graduations, school. Holidays are coming this week: Passover and Easter are here. Typically all of these things bring joy and togetherness, and the absence of the normal celebrations makes it feel all the 'worse'. Allowing yourself to take a moment to accept the loss for what it is, and accept feeling sad about it, can be a step towards feeling a little better right now. We can know that social distancing is appropriate but still be sad that we have to follow through- these two things can be true at the same time!
Second, find a way to insert a little bit of routine into your day. When we're telecommuting or suffering from being 'cooped up' too long, it's easy to just wear our sweats and not care about doing our hair. But if going through the daily routine helps you feel a little more YOU right now, then do it! Work on having a regular sleep/wake cycle, even if you get up a little later now than you did before. Be sure to have a list of one to three things you want to tackle each day- whether it's getting chores done around the house, helping the kids with online learning, or tackling that task list your boss sent you, getting things accomplished can help bring some satisfaction back to the day.
Third, find a way to connect with others, even while social distancing. Using Facetime, Zoom, or Facebook Messenger video calling to connect with friends and loved ones can be a good way to still socialize while staying safe. Don't underestimate what a quick video chat with others can do for you if you're missing that interaction quality! Setting up a time to connect with teammates, coworkers, or family can add a bright spot to your day.
Finally, allow yourself to have some grace, for others and yourself. This is an uncharted water that we're in, and nobody quite knows what to expect. If the news coverage is too much, turn it off. If the social media posts are dragging your mood down, it's okay to log off of it. Find the way that you can best nurture yourself now, and give yourself a dose of kindness as well.
If you or someone you know is really struggling right now, or at any time, please feel free to reach out to us. We are still available for therapy, as we are telecommuting as well. We are accepting clients on our telehealth platform, and can't wait to get back into the office with you soon!