When I came down with COVID a few months ago, I learned a lot about myself. It was a time of noticing the complexities of the human body, and also recognizing the resiliency of the human spirit.
I’m better now, but my healing journey was long and hard. I had days where I felt overwhelmed, lonely, and disheartened. And there were days in which I was able to access gratitude for the small wins, like getting back my sense of taste. I know these are experiences I share with many people across the globe, so I wanted to put together some things that helped me to cope.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with the virus or are supporting a loved one who is dealing with its effects, please know that you’re not alone. For me, simply acknowledging and holding space for how much this virus has affected all of our day-to-day lives allows me to feel a little more grounded in the uncertainty. That meant telling myself, “You’re not the only one. This is a global issue. We have had to change the way we live for years. It’s big, it can feel scary, but it’s okay. Just take care of yourself, whatever that looks like today.”
Here are some tips for protecting your mental health, while coping with COVID, that I hope can bring you and your loved ones a little comfort right now.
My top COVID coping tips
- Lead with empathy. With information coming from all different angles, it can be extremely overwhelming. Being able to check in with your own needs or the needs of your loved ones can really help to break through the noise. If you’re caring for someone who is sick, try using empathic language like: “I can’t imagine how you must be feeling right now. Is there anything that you need?” or “How can I support you?” Avoid offering advice or sharing “what worked for your neighbor down the street” and ground yourself in compassion and science-based facts. Extend this same empathy towards yourself, serving as your own best friend and advocate in the process.
- Limit media intake. We have seemingly endless amounts of clickbait headlines available at our fingertips… and consuming too much can create BIG feelings of anxiety. It helps me to check only one or two reliable news sources each day, grounding myself in the facts, and stopping myself before I go doomscrolling. If you’re caring for someone with COVID, I would also invite you to check in with their capacity for receiving more information. Maybe all of the news updates are causing overwhelm or even panic, so it’s okay to make space for boundaries surrounding COVID communication.
- Focus on small moments of self-care. While I recovered, it helped me to focus on simple acts of self-care that I could do daily to help both my body and mind. For example, each morning, I would open my blinds to let the sun shine in on my face. It may seem small, but it was something I could accomplish and it felt good for me. Oh, and when I found myself spirialing, I turned to this Anxiety Emergency Meditation. It’s a great way to break the anxious cycle, and create a little moment of calm. This “I can get through this” toolkit can help if you’re not sure where to start.
- Seek creative connection. Being isolated during a tough time is pretty horrible, so I tried to think outside of the box to stay connected to my loved ones. Sending or receiving a supportive “Just thinking about you” text, playing a virtual game like Words with Friends, or dropping into the Loneliness Community are a few things that have worked for me and some of my coaching clients. If you know someone with COVID, dropping baked goods or magazines at their doorstep is a small act of kindness that will go a long way. You can also express gratitude in some way for people in the healthcare field who have worked tirelessly through this pandemic.
Coping with COVID, along with grieving all of the subsequent losses, can be hard to navigate alone. Remember that there is support for you here at Sanvello. Please keep showing up for yourself each day, knowing that your mental and physical health matter today and always.
By Jessica Sicurezza, Sanvello Mental Health Coach
Jessica is a positive force for change and a trailblazer in the coaching world, inspiring her clients to prioritize self-care, increase motivation, overcome obstacles, and practice gratitude in a holistic way. She is an ICF Associate-Certified Coach and a Gestalt Professional Certified Coach with four years of coaching experience.
When she is not working with her clients, you can find her spending time with her loved ones, grabbing a cup of coffee with friends, or whipping up a delicious creation in the kitchen.