Your energy levels may have fallen behind due to stay-at-home recommendations during this pandemic, wearing of face masks and little, to no, bodily interactions, such as hugs. Just know, you’re not alone, especially if you’re a person who requires touch to thrive. We’re all in there together. I am a hugger, a person who loves to give friends and family a big embrace when I see them. We are aware, though, because of the pandemic and Covid-19, it is not recommended. Even with the 15 minutes, six feet away, rule, I just don’t chance it. I go with the elbow bump. Still, it feels like something is missing. And, it is. Our normal day-to-day life.
For many of us this can be extremely difficult and can cause high levels of stress, feelings of loneliness and isolation. Thus, the question, what can you do? First, continue to follow the guidelines for social distancing, washing your hands and wearing a mask. Those things, along with other proper health protocols, and a soon-to-be-released vaccine, will hopefully get us out of this terrible public health crisis sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, allow me to to suggest the following strategies to help you cope. They have worked for me.
Take care of your mental health. Do whatever is necessary.
Go outside and get fresh air by walking, hiking or biking.
Call family and friends on a regular basis; everyone needs to hear a human voice that loves and cares for them. Don’t wait for them to make the move, you can do it, too. I am married, but I all my mom each day, too.
Read that book you’ve been putting off.
Listen to music. It is soothing and heavenly medicine for the soul.
Find board games and other family/friend-related activities to do together.
Go out to eat, but practice safety by avoiding large gatherings with friends. Breaking bread with a few, close friends who have demonstrated their commitment to practicing safety should be okay.
Know and recognize your limits for isolation. Drives can be good.
Do not overwork yourself. Take breaks and treat your home as your sanctuary by having a separate workspace you can leave once it’s time to call it quits for the day.
Trust your spiritual beliefs and instincts.
Check on your sensitivity level, especially with your spouse or significant other.
The Centers for Disease Control has a number of recommendations that can work for you, too.
Be aware of what to do if you get sick.
Know where to get treatment.
Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, even on social media, as a constant influx of information on the pandemic can be upsetting.
Take care of your body. Establish an exercise routine.
Make time to unwind.
Eat healthy meals.
Get plenty of sleep.
There is no doubt about it. These are unprecedented and trying times. Things may feel off or uncertain. That is normal. If you are having issues, don’t beat yourself up. Try some of the recommendations above. Another not-so-bad idea would be to journal. Write down your daily or weekly feelings or experiences in a quiet space. Writing can be cathartic for the mind, soul and spirit.
Personally, I produce and host a podcast. It gives me a creative outlet. It allows me to meet and talk to women across the country, and, at some point, around the world. I love their stories and sharing them on This Prof Life: Women of Color in Higher Education. Find your sweet spot and dive into it. Break routine. Do something you’ve been wanting to do, but just didn’t have the resolve to do it. Do it for you. What is more, we will get through this. Together.
Until next time, stay healthy and well.