May 3, 2020: Emotional Balance During a Pandemic
As our social distancing and quarantine stretches into May, I can see that the stress level of most of us is cresting. When we embraced the Stay-at-Home orders, we knew it was the right thing to do. We also held the hope that it would not take too long. It was a temporary situation and once we were all hunkered down, the powers that be in the medical and research world would get it fixed, or at least managed, so we could return to a normal existence. That was what we thought and hoped.
As this now drags on with mixed messages about the duration, and truthfully, almost as many unknowns now as we had a month ago, people’s emotions are erupting. I not only see it on the news and on social media, but I see it with my family and feel it myself. Usually the most upbeat and positive person you will ever find, I am now dealing with waves of unexplained sadness and unexpected tears.
I have put in place though, a few daily nonnegotiable, that seem to be helping me keep a better emotional balance.
- Keep a journal
This is a great way to process what is happening and what you are feeling. Journals and letters have always been an important part of our shared understanding of historical events. The journals of those enduring the World Wars, the Holocaust, and other historically significant events have given historians great insight into these complex times. Clearly, we are now living though an historic time- document it through journaling. While it may not end up in an archived collection, it can certainly become part of your family’s story.
- Get outside everyday
Whether it is just to sit on the porch with your morning coffee, or taking a long walk, getting outside each day is critical. No matter how lovely or comfortable your home, when we are in it 24/7, it will eventually feel like a prison. So get outside. Listen to the birds, plant a garden, feel the sun on your face, breathe deep!
- Turn off the computer
With so many of us now working from home, the computer has become a life-line. We can accomplish something, we can feel productive, we can do our work. But what that also means is that our time spent working on the computer can easily expand to fill up all of our available time. This makes it difficult to maintain any kind of balance in your life. We never leave our work-place now, as our work place is home. So set some parameters. Turn off the computer at a specific time, and do something totally unrelated to work. Bake. Garden. Scrapbook. Read. Build a birdhouse. Or just sit and breathe.
Living a life that is balanced is challenging under the best of circumstances. During this pandemic, it may seem nearly impossible. Start small though, and put into place a few daily “must-dos” that will help you to regain some sense of emotional balance.
Wishing everyone safety, health, and balance during this most unprecedented time.