At the time I am writing this, it’s been over a year since we’ve been living in this pandemic. Here in the United States, most kids are still doing school online, many people lost their jobs, and most sadly, many people lost their lives. Even though the vaccines are out, but the truth is, most people don’t know how long we are going to live like this. So you ask, how long am I going to take this? How I am going to survive? I just want to share with you some of my personal thoughts. It may or may not apply to you. But I want you to know that you are not alone in this.
WAYS TO SURVIVE DURING THE PANDEMIC
1. Radical Acceptance. Radical acceptance is what I learned from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) training. It means “when you stop fighting reality, stop responding with impulsive or destructive behaviors when things aren't going the way you want them to, and let go of bitterness that may be keeping you trapped in a cycle of suffering.” (From https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/dialectical-behavioral-therapy#1). In this pandemic, the way we apply it, will be simply accepting things will not change (at least in the near future). You have been living in this pandemic for over a year, and you already created a new normal. You know you need to wear your mask, and do your social distancing. You accept the reality and you adapt. You are doing well, in Brene Brown’s words, you are totally “Embrace the suck.”
2. Grief. If you lost someone you love due to COVID19, grief. Don’t force yourself to change, don’t force yourself to take that pain away. That grief and that severe pain you feel, also symbolize how deep you love that person. A part of you will always remember your love one, and right now, that part of you need to grief, need to feel that anger, need to feel that unfairness, and just need to be. Let it be. Take your time. Take all the time you need.
3. Create little moments in your life. Since my daughter has been doing school remotely, I make an effort to walk with her on a regular basis. On our walk together, we talked about silly videos we watch on Youtube, our days, or sometimes just trying to avoid stepping on dog’s poops on the ground. Years from now, hopefully, when we look back, we can appreciate these little moments. We can laugh at our own struggle, and be proud that we survive this. I have a client, who lost friends and families due to COVID, and she dedicates her time by kneading scarfs, hats, and socks for the homeless. How will you create your little moments in life?
4. Implement that gratitude. Oh…I know this sounds so cheesy. If you survive so far, looking back, ask yourself what you feel grateful for in this past year? It could be as simple as “hey…I am still breathing.”
5. Share your emotional support. In this past year, I had a friend who organized two online meetings, so a bunch of us can get together and chat. I appreciated that so much, especially when times I felt so isolated. You can do the same. Call up a friend and just offer your time to listen an hour. That one hour of unconditional positive regards and support SPEAKS VOLUMES. And I hope, in returns, someone will be there for your, too.
6. Practice self-compassion. You are already having such a hard time in this pandemic, the last thing you need is to be hard on yourself. I would like to share with you one of Dr. Kristin Neff’s self-compassion exercise. You simply put one of your hand over your heart, feel the warmth and love coming from your hand, and say this to yourself, “May I give myself the compassion that I need. May I accept myself as I am. May I learn to accept myself as I am. May I forgive myself. May I be strong. May I be patient.”
If you are reading this, I want to send you my wishes to you. “May you be strong. May you be safe. May you feel love. May you be strong. May you and your family and friends survive this pandemic.”
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