Obviously 2020 has not turned out the way anyone expected and many of us are still coming to grips with the fact that this quarantine is still going on and restrictions are increasing again. December is typically a month of holiday parties, gift exchanges, gatherings and festivities. Coming into this Holiday season, it’s important for us to be even more aware of how our mood is being impacted and prioritize things that can help us cope more effectively during this time.
1) Consider how you’re feeling: Make sure to check in with yourself daily. There are several apps for mood management (check our Instagram for suggestions), but ultimately, try to be in touch with how you are feeling and what you are experiencing at this time. By simply being aware of our moods, we can better address them, as the psychiatrist Daniel Siegel says, “name it to tame it.” By recognizing and naming your emotions, they can often become more tolerable and we can determine how to effectively address them.
2) Consider how the people around you are feeling: Schedule planned meetings with family/roommates/spouses to check in weekly. One thing that leads to tension in a household is not addressing issues or grievances and internalizing these things until they fester and boil over. By having a scheduled weekly check-in, people can bring up concerns, agree on rules or expectations and brainstorm ways to manage and negotiate extended time in the home together. Discuss household responsibilities, needs for privacy, and ways to give and receive feedback. This can be especially helpful for college students who are home for an extended time. It can be helpful to enter these meetings with a business oriented mindset and attempt to remain calm throughout.
3) Consider how you structure each day and get into some sort of routine. This is especially important right now. Think about what you would like to do with each day and make realistic a plan. Days can definitely blur together right now and structure helps to differentiate each day while also helping you to feel more productive. (Note: Go easy on yourself if you don’t get it all done – just do what you can!)
4) Consider prioritizing your needs. Make a list of self-care options. Many of the self-care strategies that we used in the past are not currently available for us. Brainstorm options for self-care that can be utilized during this time and have the list accessible so that you can see it when you need it most. Some people post these lists next to their bed, desk or in their bathroom. A long list is helpful so if strategies aren’t effective in the moment, you can attempt to use other things on your list until you find something that works. For ideas, check out the list on our website.
5) Consider friends and family that you can’t see right now. Reach out to others and avoid the urge to isolate. Plan times to have virtual gatherings or connect over the phone. Be creative! Perhaps things like ways to have virtual gift exchanges, craft/baking parties, game nights, Netflix party, escape rooms or even virtual Holiday parties.
6) Consider ways to be mindful and aware. When possible, do things to practice being present with those around you and with yourself. This time is difficult for all of us and by focusing on what we can do moment to moment to take care of ourselves and others we can attempt to make this time less challenging.
Remember, none of us have ever experienced a pandemic before, so we don’t have a toolbox to pull from in terms of things that have been helpful in the past. Attempt to be flexible with yourself and others around you. Simply do what you can to care for your physical and mental health as best as you can each day.