photo by Viktor Forgacs

It’s Not Always Going To Be Like This

It is not always going to be this way.
Repeat after me.
It is NOT always going to be this way.

COVID 19 has rocked our world. Every day the headlines are just awful. Entire cities are locking down. Every business is in survival mode but our small businesses are in absolute shock. Schools are closed down. Shelves are empty. New information is flying at us by the hour. We don’t even know how to greet each other any more.

The fear and anxiety the pandemic is causing can be completely overwhelming. This stress can actually weaken our immune system making us more susceptible to viruses. Chronic stress can lead to other diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and some cancers. Researchers suspect that people who are more positive may be better protected against the inflammatory damage of stress.

When everything feel out of control this is one area of our life that we have to make a very intentional choice to combat with a positive mindset.

So how do you create a positive mindset when the world as you know is rapidly changing?

These are tried and true methods. Nothing new under the sun here folks. But our team at Community Strong hopes that these will be a gentle reminder of your inner strength, our solidarity together, and that we are going to get through this.

• Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and avoid alcohol and drugs. Increase your intake of Vitamin C and aim for 6-8 hours of quality sleep. Consider working out with friends via a platform like facebook or skype.

• Even if we are being encouraged to embrace social isolation, you don’t have to cut yourself off from everyone. Use alternative methods to socialize and check in with friends via FaceTime or give them a call. Have Netflix parties, host virtual book clubs, or host an online game night. Assist others in need during this time.

• This is an excellent time to learn a new hobby.  Pursuing these types of activities are physically and mentally beneficial. Consider simple things like adult coloring, puzzles or just catching up on that great TV show you’ve been promising yourself you’d watch are great stress relievers. Learn how to knit, get back into poetry writing, or just learn how to make your Nana’s favorite dish.

• Improve your sense of control and ability to endure by redefining what a “good day” means for you now in order to meet our new current reality. Set new achievable goals within our new circumstances. Try and focus on things that are positive in your life. WHO recommends to find opportunities to amplify the voices, positive stories and positive images of local people who have experienced the novel coronavirus and have recovered or who have supported a loved one through recovery and are willing to share their experience.

• Remain hopeful and record things to be grateful about, take satisfaction in completing tasks, and celebrate even small things. A University of Kansas study found that smiling—even fake smiling—reduces heart rate and blood pressure during stressful situations. So try a few minutes of YouTube humor therapy. Draw upon your spirituality, those who inspire you, or your personal beliefs and values.

We have an opportunity to develop new plans of action for living in this new reality. We can find ways to stay optimistic, positive, and healthy. It is not always going to be like this and we are going to get through this.

However, in the event that you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with very normal and expected emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, during this time or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call
• 911
• Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)