It is sadly time to face the harsh reality that COVID isn’t going anywhere this winter.
THIS SUCKS!!! Have a moment and let it all out. All the emotions you’ve been bottling up or not wanting to say out loud, let it out, because we are going to shift your perspective by the end of this.
WHAT ARE THE FACTS?
1. COVID sucks. Everyone is over it. (Ok, maybe that’s not a fact, but it sure is a
common worldly emotional state)
2. We have no control of when COVID will actually stop being a threat.
3. COVID is a legitimate threat to our health and safety.
Pretty limited list...so what are we supposed to do?
ACCEPT THE GRIEF
First, we need to grieve 2020 and the old way of life. I know it sounds silly, but let's look at the Five Stages of Grief:
How many have you experienced these stages since COVID started?
Denial? Absolutely. That was back when we were told this would be gone by Easter
Anger - let’s face it, we’ve ALL experienced anger at COVID (and some of us might still
be stuck there).
Bargaining... For sure, who hasn’t thought, “I’ll appreciate all the ‘normal’ things more if
it will just go away”?
Depression? Everyone has gone through their spells.
But what about Acceptance? How many of you have experienced acceptance?
Traditionally we think of grief when we lose someone important to us, but you can grieve a whole range of things: a diagnosis, a relationship, the end of a job, etc. Getting over painful experiences leads all of us to flow through similar stages as grief, and that’s what we are dealing with today.
What does grieving do?
It gives our mind the time and space it needs to process some intense emotions. Without this chance to work through major events, people end up stuck in one of the stages, whether it’s denial, anger, bargaining, or depression.
So, let’s get real: We can spend the next few months being bitter about COVID and letting it slowly chip away at us, OR we can ACCEPT it.
The ugly truth is, we can’t do anything about the pandemic, and the more we fight it the worse our experience gets. You get to choose which stage of grief you want to be in: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, or Acceptance.
One of my favorite quotes says,
“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars,
you have to let go in order to move forward.” - C.S. Lewis
Letting go and accepting work together.
In order to truly and deeply accept the current situation you have to let go of the past. Let go of all the thoughts and frustrations you feel towards COVID and accept this is normal. You can call it the “new norm”, but we have spent almost eight (EIGHT!) months in this mess and we really have no idea when we will get out.
Waiting and holding on for the next announcement only creates more anxiety within you, so you can spend the next six months or year in denial, anger, bargaining, or depression, or YOU CAN CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT AND LET GO!
Acceptance is a whole different type of energy. It allows you to release the negative emotions and pent up resistance you’re feeling towards COVID and 2020! It creates freedom to live your life the best way you know how given the current restrictions, and guess what? It ends the war you are fighting within yourself.
OK I ACCEPTED IT….NOW WHAT?
Once you stop fighting your internal war, you will notice space and energy. Use this new space to first, create a supportive environment. Once you choose to let go and accept that this is Life, not the “new” norm or “old” norm, and you’re going to live it, you need to create that energy in your environment.
If you live with people tell them, NO MORE NEGATIVITY (better yet, include them and have a strategy session)! If you have kids, this is PERFECT because little ones have the greatest imaginations and they will be able to help see the pure positivity that still exists in the world (and if you don’t have kids, borrow some 😉!)
Second, strategize about all the silly and weird things you can do. Imagine you are back in the 1800’s - how would you have fun? What would you spend your time doing? How can you play and laugh and make the most of the time you have with your family? Hey, if you aren’t sure, Google it. Be creative! To help get you started, I’ve included a list of suggestions and things you can do at the end.
FIND YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM
Let’s do a quick reality check (for all of us - me included): We are not at war, where a draft could snatch our loved one and force them to fight or put them at risk. Our planet isn’t being attacked by aliens and there aren’t zombies on the street trying to eat us. The point is, things really could be a lot worse.
I understand some, like me, have lost loved ones. I understand sometimes life feels impossible. I understand jobs are not the same and people are struggling with money and sanity. I’m not saying this isn't a struggle. What I am saying is, we are strong! Sure, COVID SUCKS, but we have all struggled before and we will all struggle again, and each time we get stronger.
If you need support, ask for it. If you are feeling stronger, reach out to people you know are struggling. When times are low, family and friends are what get you through it.
11 TIPS TO BEAT THE WINTER BLUES :
Take your Vitamin D3
Due to its effects on hormones in the body, Vitamin D is thought to affect your mood by improving your sense of wellbeing.
Vitamin D can be highly effective in high doses (1000-5000 IU) for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
A simple blood test from your doctor will determine your Vitamin D levels.
Use light therapy or a sunlamp.
As little as 15 minutes of light therapy a day treats the cause of SAD (lack of light) without any side effects.
Take time to rest and hibernate.
Go to bed early, say No to too many activities, and take a break from making other people happy instead of yourself.
Eat warm and comforting foods (soups, curries, and stews).
Go outside to get sun (when available) and fresh air (ice skating, walks, skiing, sledding).
Find some friends and get together for a laugh (whether it’s from 6’ away or via Zoom or FaceTime).
Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, trigger endorphins, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress.
Laughing with others is even more powerful than laughing alone. Try watching improv or stand-up comedy in your town!
Hot tubs are great for stimulating blood flow and helping you relax.
Movement every day that gets you sweaty will help (dancing, hot yoga, indoor cycling, even sex!)
Get some good quality, boldly-colored, fitted winter clothes to keep warm that help you look good without feeling dumpy.
Take up a hobby or learn something new.
Singing, knitting, keeping a journal, playing an instrument, learning a language, or writing a blog are all options for you. Look online for inspiration, classes, and vision boards. The important thing is that you have something to look forward to and concentrate on.
Have some silly fun with your kiddos (or on your own) with these 40 activities to try: https://www.chickenscratchdiaries.com/indoor-activities-for-kids/
What works for you? Share your success stories (and your struggles) with the community. We’re here to get stronger, and the only way we do that is by working together to find fulfilling ways to enjoy this “new normal”.