Psychological well-being is comprised of several areas: cognitive functioning, emotional states and management, social support and interactions, and spiritual connection. In times of significant uncertainty even the most robust psychological system can be shaken and begin to experience dysregulation. This can manifest in a variety of ways: a sense of helplessness, fear, anxiety, grief, sadness, confusion, loneliness and feeling alone. Add to this the impact of being quarantined: feeling a lack of control, feeling stir-crazy, feeling bored, missing social connection. To minimize the impact of all of this it can be helpful to engage in activities that provide a protective shield for you and that nourish your strength. Below is a short list of possibilities that might aid in your process:
● Find someone, at least one person (friend, family member, clergy, therapist), that you can talk honestly with about your current experience and from who you can feel supported - sharing concerns, fears, struggles. When feelings are approached, rather than avoided, you have much more capacity to manage them. If they are pushed aside the more likely result is that they will manage you. So, share them, feel them.
● Normalize your routine as much as possible. Doing this can create a sense of security to help balance out the uncertainty. Keep to a schedule (allowing for some flexibility). If you’re working from home be sure to get up at the same time, take your breaks at the same time, stop working at the same time. If your employment has been suspended keep to the schedule you had when you were working, filling in the work time with other activities. And, keep up with rituals and create new ones where necessary.
● Make future plans. Adopting a strategy of “acting as if” can support a feeling of hope during this time of such uncertainty.
● Find ways to experience pleasure. This is a good distraction mechanism and it’s important to have a healthy dose of distraction from your stresses. Good sources of pleasure:
○ Play (games, jokes, hobbies, etc.)
○ Listen to your favorite music
○ Watch nature videos that engage your senses (forests, meadows, oceans, mountains, rivers, nature preserves, etc.)
○ Do activities you enjoy (hobbies, exercise, socialize, journal, time alone, meditate, give to others)
○ Eat favorite foods
○ Nurture your physical body
● Engage in activities that give you a sense of purpose and meaning. These activities don’t need to be profound. The simplest of tasks can have meaning. Identify what you can do right now to enhance your sense of purpose:
○ Engage in your work
○ Reach out to someone to provide support during these challenging times
○ Catch up on tasks that you don’t usually have
○ Donate or volunteer
○ Spend quality time with your children, your partner, your family