I think we can all agree that things have gotten really weird in the last couple of weeks. COVID-19 is rapidly changing the way that people all over the world live their lives. Things that were normal, even mundane, in February like going shopping in a crowded store, eating out in a restaurant, or standing in line at an amusement park are now completely absent from our daily lives. People all over the United States are staying home more – working from home, taking classes from home, cooking and eating at home, not travelling, and probably feeling pretty out of sorts because of it. You may be experiencing some anxiety, you may be feeling lonely or panicky, you may be feeling hopeless about the uncertain future, or all of the above. At Thrive, our goal is to move people from surviving to thriving in the community. Unfortunately, since COVID-19 has become part of our lives, I feel like many of us have really slipped into survival mode. Survival is important, but I think we can do better. Here are some tips Thrive staff would like to offer for how to do more than just survive this.
- Stream a free yoga or workout class from YouTube – there are hundreds of these available on YouTube and you can find any kind of workout: pilates, yoga, weightlifting, aerobics, walking…if you miss going to the gym, start exercising at home! You will be so glad you tried it! And if you have family members at home with you, see if they want to join in so you can work out together.
- Go for a walk outside! I don’t know if you have noticed, but Spring is here. Get outside and enjoy every minute of sunshine you can. Take your dog for a walk if you have one. Take your kids, too, if you have any – they need to get off the couch once in a while. If you are on your own, how about listening to an audio book or a podcast while you walk? Or just listen to the beautiful sound of birds singing and enjoy being out of your house.
- Learn to do something new with the Internet. Have you always wanted to learn how to bake bread? Or knit a scarf? Or speak Spanish? There has literally never been a better time to take up a new hobby than right now. And I guarantee you if you search the Internet, you can find videos explaining how to do it.
- Call a loved one and find out how they are doing. How long has it been since you talked to your mother/sister/cousin/uncle who lives in another city? You have free time – call them! Take the time to catch up over the phone or via Skype or FaceTime. It may not seem like a FaceTime conversation will be as good as seeing a friend in person, but I promise it’s better than no contact at all. Seeing a loved one’s smiling face through your phone or computer will help you feel better!
- Start a gratitude journal. Again, instead of focusing on what we don’t have right now, or what we are not thankful for, how about spending 15 minutes each morning reflecting on gratitude? For example, right now I am thinking about how thankful I am that it is sunny and warm outside, so I am working at my kitchen table with my French doors open and I hear the birds chirping and feel the breeze blowing in. While I miss my co-workers, I don’t miss my windowless office at the moment! Practice gratitude today and enjoy the way it makes you feel.
- Finally, consider starting a regular day-to-day journal, too. Someday, you might want to look back on this time and remember how unusual this situation was. You may like to have some records to share with your loved ones. Just record your experience. How has life changed for you? How are you coping? It may also help your anxiety level to simply get it out on paper or to record your thoughts on video.
I know it may be really hard right now to see a light at the end of what feels like a long, dark tunnel, but we will come out of this eventually. This season will not last forever. Try incorporating some of these tips into your day and see if it helps. Getting yourself into a rhythm where you include some exercise, a new hobby, and/or some reflection may just help you get through this trying time. And, who knows, maybe you will even begin to embrace this new way of life and begin to thrive in spite of it all!