Building Resiliency during COVID-19

by B Teed

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many stressful challenges to our daily lives.  We’ve learned how to social distance to reduce the spread of COVID-19, leaving us feeling lonely and isolated.  We’ve learned how to work remotely while homeschooling our children, leaving us feeling stressed out and overwhelmed.  We’ve been unable to visit with or hug our elderly family members, leaving us feeling sad and anxious.   And many of us are grieving after having lost friends and loved ones whether from COVID-19 or other causes. 

Learning how to deal with these stressors healthily, can help you become more resilient.  Radically accepting what you cannot change, and focusing on what you can change, can help you manage your emotions and lessen your stress. 

Here are a few ideas to guide you in finding hope and building resiliency despite the uncertainty you may be experiencing.  Some of them are harder than others, and it’s ok to try and fail.  If you continue to work at it, it will get easier as you practice.

Practice a positive mindset.  This often starts with self-talk and the endless stream of thoughts that run through your head.  Whether you’re a naturally optimistic or pessimistic person, with practice you can train your brain to expect something good is going to happen.  This doesn’t mean you have your head in the sand and ignore what’s going on around you, but rather choose to look at each situation with a positive lens.  Celebrate those daily successes!

Get plenty of quality sleep.  It’s well known that getting enough sleep can keep our immune systems running and help us fight off infections like the coronavirus.  It also helps to reduce stress and improve our mood.

Reduce the number of news stories you listen to.  Remaining informed is important, but constantly reading or hearing about the pandemic and social unrest in the world can be alarming and upsetting.  Consider taking a break from the news and listen to relaxing music. 

Eat healthy meals.  Stress often makes us want to eat comfort food, which for me usually means pizza or chocolate chip cookies.  High carb and high sugar foods negatively impact our bodies and our moods, making us feel sluggish and down on ourselves.  Stick to good nutrition and limit the “comfort food” to occasional food. 

Connect with others.  There’s ample research connecting social interactions with health and wellness.  Reach out to someone you trust to talk about how you are feeling.  You might find, they need to talk to!

Move.  Whether you like to exercise or not, it’s important to move your body.  Movement and exercise can make you feel and function better.  Go for a walk, take an online yoga class, or find another way to move your body. 

Help others.  One of the best methods to reduce feelings of helplessness is by helping others.  There are many opportunities in our community to support our neighbors who are dealing with the effects of COVID-19.  Whether it be volunteering to deliver food to a family in quarantine or making calls to talk with isolated and lonely seniors, consider giving your time to help others.