The past month has been stressful for everyone and no doubt, stress bestows upon us some unpleasant but completely typical side effects. Take a peek below to learn more about what you might be experiencing and our best tips on how to cope.
Nightmares or crazy dreams: Many people are experiencing disrupted sleep, either having a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep. Dreams are our way of processing information that our brains didn’t have time to during the day. Right now the information we are taking in each day is stressful, overwhelming - even anxiety-provoking. It makes sense that our dreams would reflect that.
Coping Tips: During the course of the day, remind yourself of where in your life you feel safe right now and what does feel certain. Let your brain marinate in these thoughts. Also, no consumption of news, social media, and violent or super-dramatic tv shows or movies 2 hours before bed. In fact, turn off the tv, power off that phone and try some gentle yoga, or reading chick-lit 30 min to an hour before bed. Try it out for a couple of days in a row and hopefully you’ll experience a difference in the snooze department.
Mood fluctuations: Maybe in the course of the day, you go from radical acceptance of what is going on in the world to anxiety to irritability to the fetal position. This may all happen in the course of 5 minutes. Either way, it's normal.
Coping Tips: Incorporate self-care & self-regulation practices each day. Journal, exercise, get outside where and when it feels safe to do so, and open the shades and windows when the weather allows. Wake up and go to sleep around the same time each day. These circumstances require us to take things day-by-day, hour-by-hour. All feelings are temporary and so is this situation. Helping yourself in these small ways can help you feel a little more balanced.
Feeling stuck or having low motivation to do anything: We have no energy to write anything more on this topic. Also, it took 2 weeks to write this email. See? Everyone’s feeling it. If you aren’t rearranging the furniture or creating photo albums on Shutterfly - you're not alone, and you’re OKAY!
Coping Tips: Before you go to bed, set intentions for the next day. Make a list of 3 items you’d like to tackle. Any other task that gets completed is a cherry on top of the quarantine sundae. Allow yourself veg time. Whatever needs to get done will eventually get done. Prioritize sleep. Don’t compare yourself to what others appear to be accomplishing via Facebook and Instagram. If your list is showering, binge-watching Ozarks, and feeding whoever lives under your roof - we think you’re nailing it! Comfort seeking behaviors Whether it's eating all the things or drinking way more than you typically would, it's normal for us to be seeking comfort.
Coping Tips: Sometimes what brings short-term comfort results in negative experiences in the long term...sugar crashes, hangovers, irritability, etc. Balance your comfort-seeking with moderation. We are absolutely not here to judge when it comes to adult coping skills - but we also know balance is a key part of maintaining the resilience that has gotten us all through some serious stuff.
Remember, a little goes a long way. Even utilizing two of these coping skills several times a week can bring necessary relief during these stressful times. Doing the best you can is ENOUGH. As isolated as we all may be, we are in this together. You’re not alone.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Lies, Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash