Validate/accept the range of your feelings. Work towards not feeling guilty for them or judging yourself based on negative feelings. Often people feel guilty or bad for having negative feelings especially when they compare their lives/ circumstances to others. But we are human beings, and we will feel anxious, sad, discouraged, afraid etc from time to time. Accept this is normal and give yourself permission to feel the feels. Remind yourself feelings do pass. And ask yourself "Can I find a way to balance these negative feelings?" Examples: "Can I balance my anxious feelings by reminding myself what I have control over? Can I balance my sadness with practicing gratitude?" If one is feeling hopeless and is struggling with suicidal thoughts and/or thoughts of self-harm then it is important to call crisis resources: 911, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-Talk (8255) or text “4hope” to 741-741.
Limit daily/weekly news and social media intake. Try to only visit sites such as the CDC, The Ohio Department of Health, and Ohio Governor DeWine's press conferences to receive updated information on COVID-19. If you notice your anxiety and sadness increasing then re-evaluate and reduce intake of the media outlet you are viewing. Try to avoid this information right before the time you would like to fall asleep.
The next five tips are ways to shift our thinking during this pandemic: Try to stay present on each day instead of looking ahead too much. Resist the urge to look ahead in the future with a negative anticipation and try to stop playing the "what-if scenarios". Remind yourself frequently that this way of living is temporary even if it isn't as temporary as we had hoped. Remind yourself to work towards accepting what you can't control during this pandemic and to embrace what you do have control over.
Give yourself and others grace. No one is operating at their peak as we adjust to all the frequent evolving changes and new demands while trying to accept the future unknowns.
See this time (as we stay at home) as a gift. How can I use this time? What have I always wanted to try? Appreciate the time as much as possible.
See this adjustment as a challenge that you are determined overcome. Examples of challenges you may face: How can I creatively remain socially connected while practicing social distancing? How can I maintain my former routine and adapt it to staying at home?
Continue finding ways to be socially connected while respecting each other by practicing social distancing.
Practice gratitude. Try each morning to find 1-3 things that you are grateful for during this pandemic.
These next five tips are aimed at increasing focus and concentration while working and learning from home: Develop a daily routine for Monday-Friday. Scheduled sleep, consistent meals, designated times for work/learning, exercise, leisure, socializing, etc.
Remember physical organization helps with mental organization. Create your work and/or study zone. Be creative and find a desk/chair and an area that is not your bed or your bedroom (if possible). Evaluate your barriers to successfully do work or learn from home. Seek help if needed to find solutions for barriers.
Hide your cell phone and turn off email/social media notifications during work/learning designated times. Research shows that once distracted it can take up to 20 minutes to refocus on your task.
Mental organization can be achieved by time and task organization. Continue to use or start using a day planner. To do lists are very helpful, if you are feeling chaotic with your deadlines, demands, etc.
Reward yourself at the end of each work/school day by doing something you enjoy. We often use our commute home to decompress and process our day. Some people may need to have time to unwind after their day before transitioning to their personal lives. Give yourself permission to prioritize this time.
Created by Tessa Bianchi, LPCC, May 4, 2020
Tessa Bianchi is a licensed clinical counselor and coordinates the mental health services for students on the joint campus at OSU/Mansfield and North Central State College. She provides professional development, student counseling and other services to the campus community. Tessa has helped to establish an initiative to promote a trauma-informed campus culture called the Art of Student Success (Advocacy and Resources for Trauma).
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