Practices for Well-Being: Coping with Pandemic

Since mid-March of 2020, COVID-19 changed everything.
For everyone.

It has been a challenging, uncertain, scary, sad, and frustrating six months. At time, it seems like this pandemic, and all the ways in which our lives have changed, will never end. The typical occurrence of children, teens, college students, and teachers returning to their school buildings for this academic calendar/school year is not happening. A few months ago, we might have predicted our kids would be boarding school busses and walking the crowded halls of their school.  A few months ago, we might have been hopeful that we would be sending kids and teachers back into their daily lives in a school building or college campus. Instead, mostly distance learning and online and hybrid educational models are in motion. 

How do we hold onto some faith that this pandemic will eventually resolve and we get these important parts of our lives back?  As the fall approaches, I have chosen to use this natural transition of summer to fall as an opportunity to have such faith. I am using the seasonal change as a time to think about how I can best cope – and how I can encourage others to cope well in the midst of, and after, this pandemic.  Now is an excellent time to regroup, reset, and reorganize our lives, and our mindset about all of the challenges we have experienced. Gratefully, in the midst of all that is NOT normal, we can count on mother nature to show us the expected signs of fall. The trees on my block have begun to change colors. Sightings of golden yellow and burnt orange leaves are somehow comforting to me these days. How are you coping? How are you taking care of yourself in such a trying time? 

Recently, I was interviewed about my work by Valeria Teles, author of the book, “Fit for Joy” and host of the podcast entitled, “Quest for Well-Being.”  This portion of the video animation summarizes the research indicating “who fares well, who fares best” post-crisis, and in this case, post-pandemic.

Click on the video below to enjoy a brief animated clip of my interview with Valeria.

You can listen to the full hour-long interview on episode #190 of “The Quest for Well-Being” podcast here:

11 Strategies for Coping with COVID-19:
Faring Well During & Post-Pandemic

Mindset – remember this is temporary. Although it doesn’t always feel like it, this really is temporary. At some point, a vaccine will be available. Therapeutics will be developed.

Limit exposure to the news – A sure way to fire the toxic stress hormone, cortisol, throughout your body is to watch the news. I am not suggesting to put your head in the sand. However, a low dose of the news to remain informed is enough.

Move your body –  Strike a yoga pose at Noon. Take a morning walk around the block before getting to work.  Do 1 push-up today. Do 2 push-ups tomorrow. Do 3 push-ups the next day. You get the idea.

Log your progress – There is no better motivation than your own success. Write it down. Log your progress and growth.

Get outside – Shift your focus from the computer screen inside your house to the outdoor views. Take a long-distance look at the horizon. Shift your vision from close up to far away. Notice the sunset. Look up at the sky. Take an urban adventure to a lake in the city. Take an afternoon off to drive to the country. Take a simple walk around the block.

Notice art and beauty –  Have you seen the public art of poetry stamped in the cement in your town?  Take your picture next to the amazing bronze sculpture at your local park or college campus. Notice the color-filled wildflower gardens in your neighborhood.

Make art and beauty –  Break out the blank sketchbook and draw. Dig through old magazines, cut out words and images, and create a collage or vision board.  Find the colored pencils and color with the kids. Buy some watercolor paints and do that fun (and easy) paint-by-numbe picture you’ve always wanted to do.

Notice the helpers –  Mr. Rogers has shared his mother’s wisdom with all of us – find the helpers in the midst of the challenges.

Become one of the helpers –  Better yet, become a helper. Every day, see what happens when you focus on being the one to help.

Get some exercise  – If you’re feeling stuck, go for a brisk walk or a short run. Taking a short break every 60 minutes has been shown to increase productivity.  Keep your breaks short so you don’t get off track.

Get Grateful – Focus on all of the good and wonderful things in your life and say a silent “thank you.” Better yet, start that daily gratitude journal and list 3 things for which you are grateful each day.

Next Steps:

Integrate some of these coping strategies into your daily life.

~ In this blog, I write about various practices that I have found helpful to my personal and professional development which readers might integrate into their personal and professional lives. My hope is that this blog will support all readers, especially clinical social workers, clinical supervisors and their supervisees, and therapy or coaching clients.

  • Start a gratitude journal.
  • Create a logbook to track your exercise and movement success.
  • Begin a sketchbook for your artistic visions.

Find a journal, logbook, or sketchbook that works for you.

~ Find soft-cover, matte finish lined journals and journals with writing prompts at Think in Possibilities Amazon Shop – Click here: Think in Possibilities Journals @ Amazon