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- Find a supportive person you can talk to; (Pastor, therapist, coach, parent, relative, best friend, higher power) While social distancing guidelines can make connecting with your Tips for Thriving support person more difficult, it is not impossible. Many therapists and coaches have technology during Isolation set up to do online or phone sessions, so if you already have an established therapist or coach please check with them. If you are thinking now is a perfect time to start seeing one a great resource for finding help would be Psychology Today. If it’s a friend or family member that you wish to connect with there are a number of video chat options for some face-to-face time, such as, FaceTime through apple products, Skype, Zoom, and a few others. A simple google search could put you in connection with the right choice for you. If video chat is not an option you can always call, text, email, or write letters to exchange support.
- Be mindful of how much media you consume. It is, of course, important to stay informed in these trying times, but it is also important to be mindful of the impact media consumption has on you. Too much information can lead to negative thoughts and increase anxiety. Give yourself an allotted amount of time each day to watch the news and stick to it.
- Build projects and events into your calendar that you can reasonably count on. Life on the outside may be in a bit of a pause mode, but that doesn’t mean it will always be that way. If it helps you to daydream or sketch out trips you may take in Spring 2021, do it!
Daydream, research, and loosely plan for activities this winter or into next year. Also, don’t forget that now would be a great time to plan and execute little projects around your house or apartment to keep you engaged, active, and feeling like you’re accomplishing something and making progress.
- Continue to eat and move in healthy, self-supporting ways. If there is a way of eating (including avoiding substances) and movement that you know supports mental health, now is the time to keep doing that as much as you are able. Grocery supplies may look a little strained at times and gyms may be shut down so you may have to get creative. Try out a home-based workout, take a walk through your neighborhood, or try a new/interesting recipe. There are some great websites and apps for your phone that can help.
- Get out into nature! Very importantly, please remember that social distancing does not mean that you must stay inside 100% of the time (unless you are currently infected of course.) Nature can be a huge support for your mental health and in boosting your mood.
So remember you can still make getting outside a priority, by taking a walk on your local trails, playing a round of golf, and/or jogging around a local lake.
- Re-frame your brain with new experiences as a chance to do what you can’t otherwise do. It’s easy to feel despair about COVID-19 and what’s going on in the world right now. There is a saying that states “Your focus determines your fate”. If you spend much of your time focusing on catastrophic thoughts then it is very likely you will begin to feel hopeless, fearful, angry, sad, etc. I won’t diminish the seriousness of it at all, but I do think it’s important to balance out our awareness of the gravity of the situation with what knowledge we can personally control. For instance, while this situation is less than ideal can you think of some silver linings? What’s good and possible in this situation versus what’s hard and impossible about it? Ask yourself what are three things that are going right. Then ask yourself what are three challenges that are happening to me today that I can tackle. What can I do today that will bring me joy? What is something I could do to help bring someone else joy? Re-framing your thoughts to think about what you can control allows you to decrease the thoughts that may
cause negative feelings.