Staying Connected and Self-Care during High Stress
Jennifer L. Rolnick, Psy.D.
We’re in a current phase where the entire world is experiencing high levels of stress, panic, and uncertainty. We don’t know how long this will last or how it will impact us individually and in our communities. It’s in times like these that it’s most important to stay connected, stay in community, and take extra care of ourselves. So how do we do that when we know that distancing is what will help protect us and those around us?
Keep as much as your regular routine as you can. If your doctors, therapists, physical therapists, trainers, etc. are offering virtual sessions, keep attending. Make sure you do your morning and evening routines. If you usually take lunch at 1 when at work, take it at home, too. Sticking to as much or our routines as possible helps tremendously when there’s so much unknown.
Figure out ways to move your body. Go for walks. Dance to some music for exercise. Stretch. Plan a fun home workout.
Stimulate your mind. Don’t just watch TV. Stimulate your brain in other ways. Read books. Listen to music. Write. Color. Meditate. Sing.
Limit your exposure. And no, not just to people and crowded places. Limit your exposure to news and stressful information you’re taking in. We all need to figure out what our limit is around taking in the constant flow of information headed our way. Most of which is fear based. No matter how much we think we can control it, our bodies will react to all the incoming stress around the world. So choose your news sources carefully. Stick to ones that present the facts, not the ones meant to elicit fear. And set a time and time limit each day you will check the news.
Boundaries when working from home. If you’re working from home, create a little work area for yourself. Get creative. If you have a separate work space, even if it’s a corner of your dining table, you can more easily separate from that when you are done with work for the day.
And so importantly, STAY IN CONNECTION! When everyone is going through a hard time how do we get through it? We stick together! We can distance ourselves as recommended without isolating. Keep texting your friends. Play online games with people. Call each other (remember the good ol’ days?). Video chat. It’s in times like these when we all need to be in community the most. Figure out how to do that while keeping yourself and everyone around you safe.
Needless to say, the world is in a rough patch right now. Let’s make sure we’re staying in community and taking care of ourselves and our community.