By now, in early April, I believe most of us have gotten the message that we need to stay home and social distance in order to stop this pandemic. If the whole world could just park their asses for a couple weeks and not worry about stocking up their fridges and cabinets with 6 months’ worth of necessities, we can lower the curve and the world could get going again at its regular pace. I understand that is far-fetched and I guess there are people out there that like bat soup and it’s also nearly impossible to achieve with over 7 billion people on the planet but in my opinion it’s the only way.
So, for you smart humans that are doing all they can to protect yourself and your families. Thank you! However, being cooped up in your house can start playing a toll on your brain and sanity. Everyone wishes they had a piece of their old life back when everything was sort of normal with the world.
For me, I had to cancel a trip to Disneyland in Paris with some friends I haven’t seen in years and was something my family was looking forward to for a long time. My wife can’t go see her mom or her 94-year-old grandma who lives alone because she is afraid our kids may have carried the disease from school without knowing. Two elderly people sitting alone in their homes with no partner and no outside contact. Very sad when you think about it. And as much as I love my kids, we know they can also be demanding. Especially when you’re trying to launch a business and must break every 5 minutes because your 3-year-old can’t find his sleep sack that he’s standing on and your 7-year-old is wondering why she can’t go see her friends or go to school.
We are all experiencing this in different ways. My wife and I are both fortunate that we don’t have job obligations now as the hockey season is over and my wife is self-employed so we can lock our asses inside. But for many of you that is the opposite and I thank you all for helping keep the economies around the world afloat and putting yourselves at risk every day! The times ahead will be challenging. We may lose jobs, houses, money and even close people but we also need to find a way to stay sane in the midst of this craziness.
Some possible solutions
Stop watching the damn news and limit your social media.
All it’s doing is polluting your mind. You sit there scrolling and hear about the next infection and the next death and the ever-rising numbers and the next vaccine and the next speech from the next idiot to the same message from influencers to tell you to stay inside but now watch what they cook instead of what they wear. It’s garbage! Set some time maybe in the mornings to check in with the world if you feel you really need to see the updates then stop. If you’re scrolling before bed, guess what, that’s what you will think about and dream about and panic about at night. And that’s when your brain remembers the most amount of information. For the people studying for exams, do it at night! I promise you will remember more the next day. If you get your scrolling out of the way in the morning than you have the rest of the day to get your head in check and focus on a few things that will help YOU!
What else can help you?
- Read a book or listen to a podcast. Keep your brain working!
- Learn something new like a language or a skill that will benefit your future.
- Tackle those things you wanted to do around the house like clean a closet or organize the garage.
- Work on staying healthy. There are hundreds of bodyweight workouts that you can do at home to keep you feeling good and we all know a good workout is crucial for lower stress levels and a positive well-being.
- Connect with your family. All the times you tell your kids no, say yes once in a while and engage in their activities and be silly for a bit. Build a fort, play a board game, play dress up! They will love it, and it will help create deeper bonds. If parents of the world are showing fear, your kids will sense it. Understanding the feeling of fear is important but growing up with only fear can be serious.
- Also with your spouse or partner. Just talk, face to face, without a phone, I know that’s hard to believe these days but it’s possible. Ask them how they are doing? What would make them happier? Talk about future travel plans and work goals and dreams! Get to really know one another on a deeper level!
- Binge on a TV series so that the next time you video call your friends you can talk about a gay man who lures straight men into a zoo to be his husband after a couple months.
- Get out in nature. A walk through the woods and getting in-touch with the sound of nature is scientifically proven to reduce stress.
- Every day write out 3 things that happened to you that day which were positive and made you happy. It’s important to focus on daily highlights in this crazy time to take our thoughts away from the negativity of the world!
- Try out some hemp or CBD products for anxiety. I can recommend a few that help if you’re unsure where to start. Just send me a message!
As of now we have no clue when this pandemic will end! Until then we all need to make this new normal as normal as possible. When this is all over, the world will need to reconnect. We will have to support the little shop and restaurant owners to get those people back on their feet. But a few things that really stand out in these times, especially for me and my personal situation is you really find out who and what is important in life. We know that the doctors and nurses and caretakers are extremely important. We know that family and connection is important. We know that mental health is important. I guess we also know that toilet paper is somewhat important but most of all we can see in this time that people just need to slow down and not take life and the planet for granted. And if any of you are really struggling mentally, please reach out. I just want to help!
Academic Mental Coach