Proven Ways to Ease Your Pandemic Woes

By Daron Elam

Quick self-care check!

Are you getting dressed for the day?

Are you following a night-time routine?

Watching your caffeine and sugar intakes?

Walking outside for Vitamin D?

Have you had any water today?

Have you smiled or laughed yet today?

Since the COVID-19 Pandemic announcement, we have been encouraged by the CDC to practice “social distancing.” Schools and large corporations are closing and many companies are putting delays on shipping and limiting quantities of purchases on essential items (thank you for the corporate thoughtfulness!).

Generally, for the greater good, we are experiencing some inconveniences and discomfort. Below, I’ve created a care package. I’ve packed it with lots of love, straight from my heart.

Care Package for COVID-19

Increase  water intake and monitor caffeine intake

Try drinking half your weight in ounces every day as a personal goal and watch how this positive distraction helps shift your focus to healthy self-control. If you’re working from home with the kids or trying to keep up with the pace of the day by gulping coffee, focus on reducing your intake of caffeine, and increasing your water intake. Caffeine tends amplify anxiety symptoms and may dehydrate you.

Use an acceptance statement: “I have everything I need in this moment”

If you can take a deep breath and let it go, you have everything you need in this moment. Breathing and stating this to yourself as you do, will calm and regulate the nervous system. When we talk about the panic that has spread even faster than COVID-19, we must realize that we are witnessing a community trauma-response on blast. So be gracious. Most likely, you do have what you need. If you’re isolated in your home, asymptomatic, have clear breath in your lungs and Netflix, you have more than you need.  So say it in between 3 sets of deep cleansing breaths: “I have everything I need in this moment.”

Get Outside

There’s a whole lot of fresh air out there. Just step outside for 5 minutes. Rain or shine. There’s a great big space out there that’s open and expansive and it’s big enough to hold your biggest fear. Step out into open space and release it up and out. Allow that expansive outside space to draw you upward to escape what is most likely a temporary inconvenience.

Take things day by day AND make plans for the future

This is just a solid way to live. Commit to those closest to you that you will take things day by day. Ask them to hold you accountable to that. If they feel you start to get ahead of yourself, ask them to tell you.

When you look out 5-6 months from now, what would you like to be doing? Who would you like to do it with? What do you want to feel while you’re doing them? Making plans for the future keeps us less fixated on what remains unknown and more hopeful for the not-so-distant future. Another great acceptance statement here is: “It won’t always be this way.” In one hour, the sun will have moved. The temperature will have changed. You might even have learned something new.

Immune boosting 

**Please note that it is not within my scope to give dietary recommendations as I am not licensed to do so but I am sharing my personal choices and resources which I have found helpful.

Try to focus on consuming raw foods (no, not the milk and bread you bought in a panic and not the stuff loaded with sugar either). I focus on consuming garlic, turmeric, ginger, yogurt, almonds, bone broth, and citrus. All of which contain anti-inflammatory properties and other immunity agents. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods contains wonderful information. Please speak with your healthcare provider about other ways to help naturally boost your immunity such as exercising. 

Gratitude journal

Gratitude is a proven way to increase happiness and actively reduce anxiety when it is not practiced from a shame lens. Writing down what you are thankful for and in general, directing your attention to gratitude is a practice that Positive Psychology experts have found improves general health. It literally shifts your perspective of the circumstances in such a way that you experience a sense of certainty. What a wonderful thing to be able to bring yourself to in such a time as this!

Work on a sustainability or a home improvement project

Unless your names are Chip and Jo, there’s work to be done around your home. Get it finished. Paint that wall, grow the garden you’ve been wanting, make a compost bin, get better at recycling, and just generally align with nature around your home. What if you used this time to learn how to make your own fresh bread or grow your own herbs? Consider more starting alternatives around your home.

Consolidate your data

Seriously, stick to these three:

That’s it. Do not follow the news hour by hour, day by day. Anytime anything is mentioned 2.1 billion times in the media, it causes the amygdala to fire. Avoid saturated use of social media where social media is unverified facts are more rampant. If you’re already prone to anxiety or compulsions, set an alarm and allow yourself to check every night at 5 pm. Stop watching the news. Stick to data. Once you’ve got the data, stick to breathing.

Be your own anchor

Simply put, being everyone else’s anchor will leave you drowning. Practice grounding. Relax your shoulders. And do not allow yourself to be swept up in the worry. Worry is the sea and you are the boat. Do what you can to reach something solid inside (some call it Higher Power, I call it, The Divine) and don’t let go. It’s okay to need support. It’s okay to call a friend. It’s okay to cry and it’s okay to be frustrated. But do not be the one to carry everyone else through this. If you are a therapist, healthcare professional or the family designated stabilizer, please make sure you’re pouring into yourself. Go to therapy! Most offer tele-mental health options (we do!). Be conservative with your energy, and plentiful with your love and kindness. Pour into YOU everyday. Go for walks. Take baths. Drink tea. Stockpile your soul. You’re going to need it.

Originally published here and re-posted with permission.

About the Author

Owner and Clinical Director

Summit's Edge Counseling

Daron Elam NCC LPC CCH, is the Owner and Clinical Director at Summit’s Edge Counseling in Marietta, GA.

She says: I love to invite my clients into a space where they can explore their most authentic self. My therapeutic tone is largely holistic by observing the mind, body and spirit as they function together to achieve lasting change. I hope to create opportunities for learning and personal development that spark introspection and meaningful connection. I truly believe that peace comes in the ability to let go of what you can’t control. I am an entrepreneur, a Mama bear, and a loving wife. I enjoy running, international travel, cooking & baking, meditation and yoga.