With the looming cadence of the pandemic, social unrest, political fury and isolation our collective nerves are frazzled.
The ever-present toll of the global pandemic is the backdrop for how lives are navigated these days. It has created a foundational shift in how Americans are navigating their lives. The essence of the human experience has deteriorated with the lack of social interaction, job opportunities, familial anchors and shifts of everyday routines. This isolating experience has been a direct cause in the uptick of presenting diagnosis of anxiety and depression. And the individual experience, as we self-reflect, has contributed to lower self-esteem in both adults and their children.
In April, the Journal of the American Medical Association underscored the point that economic stress, social isolation, reduced access to religious services and the collective anxiety Americans experienced increased firearm sales and healthcare worker suicides.
Parenting, too, has proven to be greatly affected by the onset of pandemic stressors. A University of Oregon shows that parents with children under 5 are the most stressed. Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, too, found that 61% of parents with youngsters aged 5, 6 and 7 years of age experienced the feeling of being more “nervous, anxious, or on edge” because of the pandemic.
With the seemingly loss of control, it is imperative we start understanding what we truly have control over. Notwithstanding mental illness, the only thing we have control over are our thoughts. And understanding the negative loops in our heads, recognizing these ruminations that are tainted in fear and purposefully exchanging negative thoughts with powerful positive thoughts can rewire the way we approach our everyday lives.
An abundance of free resources are available online to support this renewal of our thought patterns during times of marked life change.
7Cups, is an online therapeutic support networks that offers free counseling, https://www.7cups.com/. And groups such as The Squad, https://www.julielokuncoaching.com/join-the-jl-coaching-community, offers a community of empowerment and connection when authentic relationships seem to be a depleted resource. By creating an intimate environment that is infused with thought provoking, new ways to attack our “new normal” is the first step in combatting the emotional fatigue of 2020.
These 5 tips can help you calm your ever-present anxiety over the uncontrollable force the 2020 has pushed in our laps.
1. Create a community. By building an community of positive influencers in your life, their example can be contagious.
2. Exercise. Releasing endorphins, is perhaps, the most powerful self-inducing medicine that humans can experience. Take a walk. Take an online yoga class. Join a Covid-Safe gym. Whatever your choice, just get out and start moving.
3. Know when you are at your limit. When you are about to scream or if you find yourself hibernating in your bed binging Netflix, because you just can't deal--this is the point when you need to reach out to the anchors in your life. No one can do this alone. And, even if you are technically alone, the voice of a person you trust, can be the salve that calms the calamity.
4. Find a hobby. Has there been something you have been meaning to do--but have made excuses with consistent avoidance? Pick up the paint brush or pen and start crafting out a space to release your creative energy. This is a powerful way to shift your mind and engage in a heart-felt extesion of your internal experience.
5. Write it down. A journal is an inexpensive way to funnel your feelings of angst onto paper and effectively release tension. Make this a daily practice. And remember that what you write does not have to be perfect--because that is not what the human experience is about. You will have, in essense, a historical snapshot of your experiences.
Whatever method you chose, invest in yourself by working through the clutter in your brain. Remember, you are not alone. We are all in this together.