COVID-19 Coping Skills
Manage your news consumption
- It is easy to get sucked into checking multiple sources every hour for the most up to date information. While it is necessary to remain informed, you can overdo it and increase your anxiety.
- Check the news once or twice a day OR pass the responsibility on to a trusted other and have them update you on the necessary information.
Stay socially distant while remaining emotionally connected
- It takes more work to manage your relationships when your environment does not readily put you in contact with others (i.e. talking to colleagues at a business meeting, going out with friends). It is important to stay physically away from others during this time but make the effort to be connected.
- Do a virtual happy hour with friends, FaceTime your family, or post videos online to keep yourself tied to your support system!
Get fresh air while staying away from others
- Do what you can to get the vitamin D needed to help with your mood.
- Sit in your backyard, open your windows, soak up the sunshine from your living room.
Create a rhythm to your day
- Everyone’s schedules and routines have been turned upside down during this pandemic. While holding to a rigid routine while you are at home may be more frustrating than helpful, it is important to have a “rhythm” to your day. Try and create a pattern to follow that helps you move throughout your day and accomplish tasks.
- Your commute to the office went from 30 minutes to 30 seconds. Try and build in a transition activity in the morning to help you go from waking to working (i.e take the dog for a walk, get some exercise).
- The same is true at the end of the day. Do something that helps your brain go from professional to personal (i.e read a book, watch a show, do some yard work).
- Make an effort to leave the house every day if you can (even a walk around the neighborhood can help with a change of scenery).
Engage in “Expectation Management”
- Successful work from home means creating healthy AND realistic boundaries.
- Get dressed for work every day, the right clothes can put you in the right mindset.
- Set the tone for yourself and others by having set work hours that account for the other aspects of your life too. Clearly communicate these with others.
- Schedule a lunch break in your day to take a break.
- Make an effort to get up and move around throughout the day.
- Log out and turn off your computer at the end of the day (this makes it harder to jump back on “just for a minute” later at night).
- If you have a separate home office, close the door when you are done for the day (“out of sight, out of mind” can help you hold your boundaries).
Set goals for your time
- We use holidays and events to mark the passage of time (i.e. Easter, summer break, the weekend, etc.). During the pandemic, our typical markers have left us, and all days can look the same.
- Create goals for yourself to help denote the passage of time (i.e. learn to play a new song on the piano, be able to do 100 pushups, finish a DIY project).
- Use a variety of short term and long term goals to keep yourself engaged.
- Pollyannas and Debbie Downers will cause problems for you (and the others you are hunkered down with). Aim to be a Realistic Optimist (i.e. prepare for the worst while hoping for the best).
- Find positives where you can and look for the good news in a day to lift your spirits and remind you that overwhelmingly, people are good.
- When life feels out of control, refocus your energy on what is within your control.
- Seek support and validation from others in your circle.
Find things to laugh about
- Humor is an essential coping skill and laughter has been shown to have some amazing health benefits.
- Watch reruns of your favorite show, check out daily memes from some of your favorite accounts, call up a friend, and reminisce about old stories. Find the humor in life!
Engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors
- Make healthy behaviors part of the rhythm of your day.
- There is no better natural treatment for anxiety than a good diet, plenty of sleep, and physical activity.
- Pay attention to your physical health AND your mental health. If you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or out of control, seek support from professionals in your community.
Be nice to yourself
- Managing multiple roles as an employee, spouse, parent, child, friend, sibling, caretaker is hard at any time in your life. Doing it in a pandemic is really hard (and can feel impossible at times).
- Give yourself space to have your feelings. There is not a wrong way to feel about this situation.
- Cut yourself some slack. Some days will be better than others and that is to be expected.
- Reward yourself every once in a while with something that you enjoy.