Amidst the chaos of COVID-19 and the topsy-turvy world of social distancing, another member of our Jubilance Sisterhood is here with some tricks to bring your routine a little more calm and normalcy.
Becca offers some practices rooted in psychology, social science and her own journey as a therapist and counselor working remotely for the first time.
Places of business are shutting down, schools are closing, and you are likely finding yourself at home socially distancing yourself in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Perhaps tensions are high and you are in the ultimate state of unknowing—not knowing when you will be able to immerse back into your old life, not knowing if your children will return to school this year, or not knowing if you or your loved ones will remain healthy during this crisis.
In this heightened state, it is important to remind yourself of emotional closeness. Maintaining connection with your emotional needs can help soothe the chaos happening outside of your control.
Here are some tips in taking care of your emotional needs while social distancing:
Keep a Schedule
Right now, many of the routines that typically fill the majority of our time have vanished. Daily trips to the coffee shop, work commutes, gym visits, dropping the kids off at school, etc. Even weekly services at church or synagogue might be off the table.
It’s easy to take for granted how much structure and safety our routines provide us until they’re gone.
The antidote to this new chaos is creating your own order where you can. Try setting schedules for the day, just like you would if you were out and about in regular life, and treat your schedule like appointments you wouldn’t miss.
Delineate times when and where you’ll work and when and where you’ll relax. Schedule times to come together intentionally with family, even if you’re stuck inside with them all day anyways, and friends, even if it’s just a text to say hi. Schedule restorative self-care time for yourself (even if all you can find is ten minutes to drink a cup of tea after putting the kids to bed, schedule it and stick to it).
Here’s a look at my husband’s and my daily schedule on the wall in my kitchen. As a High School Therapist, I’m not used to working from home, so scheduling a lunch break for myself and sticking to it has brought me a small sliver of the structure I’m used to, which has made all the difference thus far.
Reach Out To Loved Ones
It sounds obvious, but it’s easier said than done in times of stress, anxiety and isolation. Calls to check in about how your family members are doing amidst the COVID19 crisis are helpful (and often necessary), but connecting in a more casual, normal way is important, too.
Try scheduling a “lunch” with a friend where you place each other on speakerphone or facetime to chat while you eat. It might help you feel more normal, and help facilitate the type of social interaction that can put your mind at ease, even if just for fifteen minutes.
With a constant flow of new catastrophes and hardships coming at you through the news, and very likely your own life as well, feeling grateful for what you do have on a regular basis is all the more powerful.
If you have a gratitude practice that has worked for you in the past, now is the time to double down on it and practice daily. Whether it is journaling, prayer, meditation, or just taking a second to yourself and REALLY enjoying the heck out of a couple of Oreos, a few minutes of feeling grateful can keep your stress to a manageable level.
Keep Your Space Clean
If you’re stuck at home, the negative impact of a cluttered space on your mind is multiplied. Just the same, the positive impact of a clean, orderly space is even more helpful than usual.
Spending more time at home, you’ll likely need to tidy up earlier and more often, so be sure to schedule extra cleaning into your day.
Stay In Tune With Your Senses When Anxiety Is High
When the weight of the world on your shoulders is just too heavy, and you don’t know what to do next, try retreating to your basic five senses.
Notice to yourself one thing you are hearing, one thing you are seeing, one thing you are smelling, one thing you are tasting, and one thing you are feeling. Then, repeat the process. Still feeling out of control? Slowly repeat it again.
This practice helps to bring your mind out of anxious thought patterns and back into the present moment and the physical space, where at least in a few concrete ways, you are safe and O.K.
I wish you and your loved ones encouragement, peace of mind, health and safety during these tough times.
Live your life with Jubilance,
Becca Lantry is currently pursuing her MS in Marriage and Family Therapy from San Diego State University. She currently holds her MA in Counseling and Education and works with youth, young adults, and families around confidence, love, relationships, and empowerment. Becca has been taking Jubilance for the last few months and she is able to love herself more during those times of emotional PMS because of it.