April 16, 2020 • By Angela Bisignano, PhD
Just one month ago, many would not have imagined that our world would be turned upside down. Who would have thought that we would be practicing social distancing or being at home in self-quarantine? The U.S. looks different today. Fewer people on the streets, less traffic on the freeways, and no one in the parks or at the beaches.
What about our home life? Never in my imagination did I consider that my son would be home from college doing all his classes online. Nor did I consider that my husband would be conducting office meetings with nearly three hundred people from our home. I have been seeing clients online, so it wasn’t a huge stretch for my private practice. However, never did I imagine that all my therapy sessions would be virtual.
I suspect many of you never considered that you, too, might be in a similar predicament. How could you? The world changed drastically in less than 30 days. Since my last article, 15 Self-Care Activities You Can Do at Home During COVID-19, things have changed even more. Now all the schools in my state of California have closed down for the rest of the semester. All non-essential businesses have been temporarily shut down, and most everyone has been sent home. This seems to be the case for most of our country.
In the midst of this pandemic, we are seeing heroic efforts by our fellow country men and women on the front lines. God bless you all! I am praying for your physical health and well-being. Thank you for what you do for all of us: People stepping up and buying food for the elderly; nurses, doctors, and health care providers risking being exposed to COVID-19 for you and me; even our corner grocery workers are doing their part.
No doubt we must all do our parts. Practice safe measures. Social distancing. Staying home to prevent spreading the virus. However, we can reframe some of our current thinking and choose not to panic. Instead, let’s choose to take control of what we can.
3 TIPS FOR WELL-BEING DURING COVID-19
1. Let hard times ignite creativity.
I am inspired to see how people are igniting creativity: major car companies using their ingenuity to make ventilators, cruise ships being converted to temporary hospitals, vocalists using cellphones to collaborate, making songs come to life. How can you, too, ignite your own creativity? Dare to think outside of the box. Try writing down your ideas, and then add to them daily, fanning the flames of creativity.
2. Find new ways to gather.
I am seeing people sending group text threads in an effort to socially engage amid a climate of social distancing. People are sending uplifting messages, helpful information, or funny YouTube videos to make others laugh. Zoom meetings are being used for education, business meetings, and social hours. Don’t let social distancing keep you back from socially connecting. We are social beings; we need to connect. Think of ways you can reach out either by phone, email, or Zoom. Don’t let social distancing become social isolation. Stay connected.
3. Dare to keep dreaming.
Don’t let boredom creep in. Use your imagination. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
- Make a list of your talents
- Make a list of your gifts
- Ask yourself the question, “What would I do if money wasn’t an issue?”
Now get going. Start thinking, writing, having conversations with your spouse, partner, or friends. Now is the time to envision something for your future. For instance, I am working on strategizing a new project I have in mind. We may be homebound, but we are not locked up. I am free to dream. To imagine. And so are you. So, I say, dream on.
We have some choices to make. Yes, for sure we are concerned about COVID-19. However, we don’t need to let fear and anxiety get the best of us. We can choose something different. We can acknowledge our concerns. and do the best we can to practice safe measures for ourselves and for our families. Beyond that, we don’t have a lot of control, besides how we respond to this pandemic. I encourage you to not let it get the best of you.
Editor’s note: Many therapists are offering teletherapy in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Click here to start your search for a licensed and compassionate therapist who practices online.