How to Cope With Covid
We have seen a tremendous increase in the number of people seeking support from our psychologists and psychotherapist over this past
COVID year. So, if you’ve been feeling stressed, depressed, irritable, or just out of sorts but not sure why, then you’re in good company.
COVID-19 has been like a powerful exposer, revealing cracks in our personal and professional lives that were probably always there, but less noticeable because we had other things to focus on. By forcing all of us to stop everything we were accustomed to doing and making us question every action, the pandemic has taken away much of the ‘grease’ that allowed the wheels of our lives to spin freely before. Lockdown is showing us exactly where and how we struggle.
People who got along well with family and friends a year ago tell us they’re struggling more within their relationships now. We’re seeing more requests for couples’ therapy because of the challenges that come with spending every single day together. We’ve all had to adjust to working from home or in settings that feel more risky. Families have had to negotiate who will get to use which spaces in the house and which devices to connect with for work and school. Closets and dining tables have become home offices, and privacy can be difficult to come by. That’s not even to mention the need we’ve all had to find greater patience, for lineups at grocery stores, waiting for vaccines, and coping with the extra delays caused when resources we need to get our jobs done just aren’t available like they used to be when we were back in the office. Everything just seems to take longer these days.
Losing the social aspect of life has been an extremely common concern among people calling us for support this past year. While not everyone likes to be social, it’s been a real challenge to not be able to get together with or touch other people when we do want to connect! It seems that most people have found ways to stay in contact with close friends, but the pandemic and the passage of time have very subtly revealed which of our friendships we value, and which ones we’ve discovered we’re okay letting go of.
Anxieties and low moods that used to be interrupted by distractions and the busyness of having places to go became more of a focus when we all had to slow down. People who relied on distraction as their primary means of coping with anxiety, boredom, stress and loneliness really suffered when they had to sit with their scary thoughts and feelings. Although recent data from StatsCan shows that, on the whole, most Canadian adults didn’t change their use of alcohol and non-medical cannabis, more of us reported that it was boredom, stress and loneliness that made us reach for those escapes.
Coping with COVID-19
Create a routine.
Most people thrive when life feels predictable and has structure. Do what you can to go to sleep and wake up at around the same times each day. Get dressed and shower as if you were going to school or work, and continue eating at regular intervals. Some clients have told us how useful it is to schedule exercise and social time, and some have even found it helpful to leave the house for a quick mock-commute before starting work. If your commute was a useful way to separate home-life from work-life, and gave you time to decompress before returning home, keep doing it.
Prioritize Social Time.
The need to interact with friends and family is hard-wired into us, and the fact that this pandemic has caused us to fear close contacts with others puts a significant strain mind health and emotional wellness. To cope with that be sure to schedule social time with people outside of your own home. Go for socially distanced walks or runs. Arrange virtual walks with friends, where you talk by phone while each of you walk in your own neighbourhood, or use tools like Netflix Party to watch shows together that you can talk about later.
Limit Your Exposure to News and Social Media.
Research shows that exposure to social media can have negative impacts on mood and anger, especially in those under 30. Combined with the availability of news and news-like media 24 hours per day, information can start to feel confusing and overwhelming. Take a break when you need it. The Internet will still be there when you get back.
Recognize when you need some extra support.
This has been an exceptionally difficult time and everyone you know has struggled with some aspect of it. Good self-care involves recognizing when you need help and getting it for yourself. Our team of psychologists and psychotherapist have the experience to help you manage anxiety, stress, depression and relationships issues. Contact us here and let us know how we can help.