I know that the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused much anxiety to many. I know it has for me anyway. This may have caused unpredictability with your job, finances, and/or future plans. You may spend half the day working and the other half worrying if your annual allergy symptoms may actually mean you have the coronavirus this year. It may be easier to make jokes and laugh at these fears, but they are real. The good news is I have some strategies that have been working for me to help cope with, take your mind off of, or at least assist in, the alleviation of this anxiety. Just for a reference, I am currently on my fourth week of working from home, so I would say I’m pretty experienced by now LOL.
1. Focus on YOU: The key is to use this time to focus on YOU, and no you are not being “self-ish” for doing this. You deserve the love you have been giving to the world and putting into your job/craft. For me, part of this means learning my hair better. I had traditional locs for 16 years. A little over a year ago, I decided to do the big chop. For me that represented letting go of things in my past that I didn’t want to hold on to anymore. That was a hard transition for me though due, to the fact that, I have never used a comb or brush prior to this cut. Since I do not have to worry about the anxiety of me not liking what my twist out is going to look like in the morning before I go to work, I have been trying new styles and techniques with my hair to become more comfortable with it. Honestly, it is a lot of fun and is increasing my self-confidence and hair creativity. Another option could be solidifying a skin care routine that works for you, trying out new face masks, or even making your own. Focusing on yourself helps to alleviate the stress caused by what’s going on around you.
2. Exercise: You don’t have to go to the gym to workout!! My goal is to do 50 sit-ups every hour during the work day. I have not been able to achieve that yet due to me being caught up in my work but I’m still pushing. I’ve tried workout and yoga videos on YouTube, as well. They can range from 5 mins to over an hour! I have also enjoyed dance studio lessons and heels classes that are offered on Facebook and Instagram LIVE. Dance has been very therapeutic for me (way before this pandemic), and I will talk about that in detail more next week so be on the lookout for that. There are so many options right now, so take advantage!! Please share your favorite virtual classes with me! Plan those into your weekly schedule to hold yourself accountable.
3. Start that business that you have been talking about for the last four years (okay that may be a little dramatic, but you get the point): Is there something that you’ve always wanted to start but haven’t had the time? Well, now you’re stuck at home so start planning!! For me that means putting energy into this blog and a podcast that will be releasing soon. Putting your time and energy into a passion project, will help you forget about what you were stressing about that same morning. If you don’t have one that you have wanted to get started, that’s fine, but is there a hobby that you haven’t had time to do anymore? Find your love for that again. Whether that be dancing, baking, or painting. I am not the best painter, but it brings me to a level of calmness. There are also step-by-step videos available on YouTube, that makes the painting process so much easier. Now is your time; get started.
4. Eliminate negativity: EVERYWHERE. I know social media can sometimes heighten the anxiety that you already have, if that’s the case delete that app. Is your feed filled with negativity concerning this pandemic? Unfriend the people making those posts. Take this time to cleanse holistically. Start focusing on yourself and your life, rather than the lives of others.
5. SLOW DOWN: Now that you don’t have to drive that hour to work, hurry home to cook, or go to all those meetings and gatherings that you signed up for, be grateful for this opportunity to be able to slow down and appreciate what’s around you or aspects of your life you have been overlooking. Yes, that includes you neglecting yourself and the ones you love. Call that loved one you haven’t talked to in weeks…better yet Facetime them. Chances are they are having some level of anxiety, as well. It is nice knowing you’re not alone in this. Be a support system for each other. Also, make time to sit in your own thoughts and with yourself, but do not indulge in the “what-ifs” and fears associated with the unpredictable future. Meditate. Breathe. Release.
6. Write down your thoughts, goals, routine etc: Get them out of your head: that helps to eliminate the anxiety. It’s something about seeing them on paper that makes them not seem as scary. It’s something about writing down goals that makes them more attainable. Journal not only when you’re stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, write down those positive thoughts that you felt on the good days, as well. If you feel comfortable, share these thoughts with others. If you feel comfortable, share them with me!! If you don’t, burn them in a controlled area, and release them. Being quarantined, may have also brought on unexpected laziness and a lack of motivation. Try writing out a schedule for each day. This will keep you busy and productive throughout the day, and give you something to look forward to each hour. I am a very organized person, and when I don’t have my agenda, or a plan, I often feel lost. Because of that, for me, having a routine to follow is an easy way to cope with stress.
7. Be a kid again: Take out those board games that have been collecting dust in your closet. If you don’t have any, add them to your list of items to get the next time you go out. Trust me it helps. “Life” was my favorite childhood board game and getting it really made me forget about all the stress that comes with being an adult for an hour. Watch your favorite Disney movies, grab a bowl of popcorn, smile, laugh, or maybe even cry. Allow yourself to feel all of those emotions. Let them out in this way, so that they won’t build up and come out later. You won’t regret it.
8. Stay positive: I want to end on this note. This may be harder for some to do because the pandemic may have affected them differently. Try to focus on the positive things this pandemic has allowed you to do, such as spend more time with your family and yourself. Be grateful for what you do have. Focus on that.
Feel free to comment below things you do to cope with stress, and how that has changed during this time. If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to see pictures and updates!!
LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE yourself first. Until next time. Mwauh 💋 -Alex