Top Five Tips to Thrive during Isolation
There is no arguing that times are incredibly tough right now! We already had so much stress in our lives that we were trying to cope with, but adding in a pandemic… is just too much! How are you coping?
When this all started many of us believed it would be “short-term”.. then we came to understand that really isn’t the case. Did you think that you could use this time to accomplish all the things you had been putting off? Has that actually been happening for you? If the answer is yes, great for you but the rest of us are really struggling. It is hard to find the motivation to do things and to stay connected to others. There are a few ways that we can still thrive through this time though..
1. Be flexible with yourself
We have all this time on our hands, but yet we feel like we can’t get anything accomplished. My biggest piece of advice is to be a little more flexible with yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others because it won’t help you to succeed. The only person that you can compare yourself to is yourself.
We have a ‘normal’ baseline of stress and usually other stressors come in and those are difficult, but we can manage. Now, there are all these other stressors that are now part of our baseline stress. What that means is that anything that comes in on top of that is going to feel amplified (even things that wouldn’t normally bother you). For a visual see below!
To be flexible with yourself can mean that you have to take things a little slower and that is okay. For example, if I am wanting to work on exercising it feels like an even bigger hurdle than normal. To slow down, maybe I start by doing 5-10 minute short exercises. Maybe I start by just even putting on my workout clothes. We need to break tasks down so that we can see the progress along the way. In this world that we live in right now, ANYTHING is an accomplishment and we deserve to celebrate every win that we have!
2. Maintain routine
Without routine we can feel really loss. We might not get up and take care of ourselves such as showering or putting on clothes, make up etc… Those things may not be necessary, but are a part of your well-being. It helps us to feel more 'human' to keep some sort of structure. That doesn’t mean that you have to have a specific schedule set up or be rigid about anything. Routine is about having things to do throughout your day. Rather than “I get up at 8am and work out until 9am and then I eat until 9:30am…” it is more about having certain things that you do throughout the day. I get up and then I like to work out before I eat breakfast (that allows for us to also keep the flexibility - #1- in mind).
“I don’t need self-care because I am not really doing anything.” Maybe that is true, but you are still dealing with life and stress! In order to cope and manage that baseline of stress in a healthy way, self-care is a necessity. “But self-care is selfish.” Sometimes that is true, however, in order to help others or manage stress and relationships you also have to be able to take care of yourself or you won’t be effective or efficient at anything. Have you ever tried to write a paper when you are just exhausted? Did you feel like you were in a fog? Or like you did it, but didn’t really put as much as you wanted into it? This is why self-care is so important right now. It is also harder because many things we used for self-care are now not as accessible to us. Think about what is soothing to you. What are things that bring you comfort? Certain smells or images? Funny shows? The voice of your mother? Music? Find things that are accessible for you right now.
We feel so isolated right now. Even if this hasn’t ‘disrupted’ your life that much, you are still dealing with a lot and connections with others is really important. Would you have normally done happy hour with friends on Friday night? Keep doing those things via Zoom or other means! It may not be as fun or exciting as before, but it maintains those connections. You don't have to wait for others to make that call... you can do it! The other people in your life are also feeling isolated and may be having trouble reaching out.
5. Seek therapy
Times are difficult and it is okay to reach out for help! You don’t have to be in crisis to seek out therapy. Therapy is effective for a wide range of concerns and dealing with life stress and transitions is one of those things. Having someone unbiased who is able to help guide you in this difficult time can help. It can give you a teammate to share your stress with and who can help you navigate that stress. To get started, reach out to us and we will get you set up with a free 30 minute consultation to see if we are the right fit for therapy and if not help get you to that right place. You can also look at directories such as psychology today or good therapy for options.