By, Lindsay Simon, LMFT
When will this all be over? It’s a common question and though vaccinations are underway, it sometimes feels like the end to COVID life can’t come soon enough.
A negative mentality can lead to frustration, anxiety, stress, or feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. It’s true that what we once knew as normal may not look or feel the same for a while. Here are some steps toward finding a sense of new normalcy and making the most of the current situation with COVID-19.
Focus on the controllables. Focusing on things out of your control is a guaranteed way to increase stress, anxiety, frustration and resentments. Other peoples actions, beliefs and choices are out of your control. The fact that we are living during a global pandemic is out of your control. The past and the future are out of your control. Try to make a list of things out of reach or out of your control on one side and the things in your control on the other side. Things in your control are your thoughts, actions and boundaries you have in the world and with other people. Accept what you can’t change and focus your energy on what you can control in order to improve your mental and emotional health.
Find ways to be grateful. Appreciate what you do have. Maybe it’s a job, a relationship, a pet or a person in your life, having hot water, the ability to walk, or the ability to spend time in the great outdoors. A habit that I practice daily is waking up and consciously implementing gratitude for my pillow, soft sheets and bed so that I start my brain on a path of positivity each day. Name and appreciate these things daily. A daily gratitude journal where you write down 3 good things that happened that day, and how they made you feel, can help form this healthy thinking habit.
Take time for reflection. Journaling can help organize your thoughts and feelings, and find meaning from difficult life experiences. Topics to consider writing about: the losses you have experienced and their impacts on you, ways you have shown strength or grown, and relationships that have improved during the pandemic.
Practice acceptance and forgiveness. Research shows that people who practice forgiving others and accepting things the way they are lead happier, healthier lives. This includes self-acceptance. Remember, we are all doing the best we can given the skills, awareness and knowledge we have at the time.
Reset your goals. Create professional and personal goals that are safe and reasonable. Break them down into smaller steps. As you achieve a step, check it off of a list. Remember, it is better to try and fail than to have never tried at all.
Prioritize ties with loved ones. Look at how this past year has strengthened some relationships and reconnected you with others. Actively foster these relationships. Have a picnic or go for a bike ride or walk together. If you feel stuck, ask for help from a trusted friend, family member, or trained professional, such as a therapist.
I hope these tips can help you during this difficult time in the world. A skilled therapist can help guide you through this difficult time so that you can come out of it stronger, more resilient and leading a more fulfilling life. We have 6 highly skilled therapists at A Balanced Life that are available to help you on your journey. Check out our options of therapists here: https://www.abalancedlifetahoe.com/our-therapists/.
Or call our office (530) 544-1748 and Terra or Brittany can help answer your questions and find the best fit therapist for you.