5 Ways to Stay Sane as the Pandemic Rages On
It’s nearly 2021, and the US pandemic death toll is right around 273,000. Experts predict that we will see many more before it’s all said and done. That’s tragic, but at least we know that multiple vaccines are on the way and should be here soon.
In the meantime, most people are experiencing what the talking heads are calling “pandemic fatigue.” That’s why so many states and counties that were doing well are seeing rising numbers.
People wore masks and stayed socially distant for months, but now, during the holiday season, they want to socialize with their friends and family again. For some, the temptation is too great.
Everyone must stay disciplined right now because if you don’t, you endanger yourself and others about whom you care. You have to fight pandemic fatigue, and there are ways to do it. We’ll talk about a few of those now.
Biking and Walking
The NYC DOT says that 900,000 people in New York City alone use bikes regularly. That’s one thing you can do, and you can also go on frequent walks. When you do these things:
- You get out of the house
- You get some much-needed exercise
Part of pandemic fatigue is sitting in the same house or apartment for weeks and months on end, staring at the same walls, the same decorations, and even the same people. You need to go out sometimes and feel the wind on your face.
Since it’s almost winter, that’s a cold wind in many regions. You might not choose to go for a walk or bike ride in a blizzard.
During the winter, you have to pick your spots. You can’t bike if there are snow and ice on the ground, but you can at least walk if you see a warmer day in the forecast. Just getting outside and walking to a local park or around the neighborhood is a nice change of pace.
Humans have meditated for thousands of years. There are different ways of doing it, like guided meditation or simply lying down on the bed or sitting in a lotus position and closing your eyes for fifteen minutes. Meditation:
- Allows you to slow your heart rate and breathing
- Lets you hear your body’s messages
Your body is always telling you things. The real question is whether you often stop to listen to it.
Now is a time when many people feel extraordinary stress levels. Maybe you’re feeling the financial crunch if you lost your job or are not getting as many hours. Perhaps the kids are stuck at home doing online learning, and you worry about them falling behind.
There are a million possible reasons to worry, but sometimes you need to take a few moments to block out all the noise and breathe. Stress can bring about heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and other harmful conditions and events.
You can meditate every day to get yourself in a better mental state. If you don’t know how to do it, watch some YouTube lessons, or get yourself a guided meditation smartphone app. You have to pay for some of them, but others are free.
Movie or TV Night
Now is a time when families need to come together. If you feel stress, you cannot take it out on your spouse or partner, or your children. You need to become a cohesive unit rather than break apart under pressure.
Part of that is spending meaningful time together. You might see each other a lot these days anyway if you’re all home from school and work. However, it’s one thing to live in the same house or apartment and another to intentionally hang out together.
You can have a family movie or TV night. You can each take turns picking what you want to watch. Maybe you have a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime. If so, you should have plenty to peruse.
Perhaps there’s a show that all of you like, and if so, you can binge-watch it together. You can grab some popcorn and snuggle up under the blankets. You might want to go with a comedy or some lighthearted fare rather than anything too serious.
You might also want to do a family meal at a time when everyone is home. That might be breakfast time, dinnertime, or any other time that everyone finds most convenient.
You can all cook together. If some of your family members don’t know how, now is a great time to learn. You can look online for some recipes to try.
Family mealtime is a great way to enjoy each other’s company. You might go around the table and talk about how each of you feel. That way, if anyone seems anxious or worried, you can address it.
Even though many of us have to spend more time with our families than usual these days, it’s still easy to feel isolated. It’s counterintuitive, but many therapists and mental health professionals say that’s what is happening.
By sitting down and enjoying food and fellowship, you remind each other you’re not alone.
Talk to a Therapist
Of course, some people live by themselves, and they can’t have family movie nights or family dinners. These individuals might find 2020 even harder.
You might decide you want to speak to a therapist about what’s going on in your head. It’s not shameful or weak to talk about your feelings right now, or ever.
If you don’t want to see a therapist in person because of Covid-19 concerns, you can look into the therapy apps or online services that exist. Some of them don’t cost very much, or you can at least have a free introductory session if you have monetary worries.
It’s likely that by this time next year, most people will have received the vaccine. In the meantime, you have to hold on and stay as physically and mentally stable as you can.