by Lisa Walker
When you think about what life is like these days, do you get the feeling that things have changed in ways you never imagined? Living through a pandemic is far from normal, so it’s only natural that our lives would be different than they were pre-COVID. Maybe you’ve made some changes willingly, but other changes you wouldn’t have made if given the choice. Let’s be honest: COVID-19 is our new reality, including the life changes that come with it.
If you’re feeling depressed and anxious during this difficult time, you’re not alone. Here’s how you can respond to those changes in a way that’s healthy and that gets you back on track.
Unique Solutions to Difficult Situations
We’re all facing some difficult situations these days. Some people have lost jobs and are worried about how they’re going to make ends meet. Others are working from home and balancing work, home life, and their own personal needs (hello diet and exercise!). Whether the changes in your life are big or small, we all have the potential to find unique solutions.
One thing that comes to mind is how the pandemic has impacted major life plans. For example, maybe you were planning on selling your home this year, but now you’re wondering if that’s even possible. It’s true that the real estate market has slowed. Home prices are down in some areas, and some people who would have been in the market may be putting off buying until they feel like it’s safe to tour homes.
Another example is how you deal with the struggle of working from home while also juggling “real life.” If you’re new to working from home, try these tips for creating a better work-life balance. Some of these suggestions require a little creativity, such as finding a spot in your home for a designated workspace. Others are pretty simple, including getting dressed for work (as tempting as it may be to stay in your pajamas all day).
Many people are learning from home as well, and the pandemic has made earning an online degree an even more viable option. Competency-based learning allows you to complete your coursework as you learn the material, so you can still work full-time without worrying about assignment deadlines. Whether you’re earning an accounting degree online or a degree in information technology or business administration, there are many learn-from-home options.
Set a Schedule
Along with finding unique solutions to your top challenges, this next tip is crucial for adjusting to life’s post-COVID changes. When you no longer have your usual schedule for work, hitting the gym, or socializing with friends, the solution is to create a new schedule. Again, this may require unique ideas, like having a virtual happy hour or game night instead of meeting up in real life, but the key is to find a solution and then schedule it!
Before anything else, start with scheduling self-care. Now more than ever, self-care should include being aware of your mental health needs and making time for mental wellness activities, such as practicing mindfulness. All those changes we’re dealing with inevitably lead to increased stress, so be sure to make time for stress relief too.
Self-care also includes your regular health habits, such as eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep. If you find yourself sliding on these habits, the best way to get back on track is to schedule them. We love these tips from Time for staying healthy during the pandemic. For example, instead of stocking up on canned goods, they recommend shopping for fresh produce and freezing some. And while you’re focused on scheduling healthy meals and exercise, don’t forget to schedule rest too because sleep is vital if you want to look and feel your best.
It feels like this pandemic came out of the blue, bringing with it all sorts of changes. Maybe those changes have left you feeling anxious, helpless, and falling into unhealthy habits. That’s okay! It’s never too late to switch gears, take the wheel, and steer your life in the direction you choose.
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Dr. Kerry McAvoy, a psychologist and writer, is in cultivating healthy relationships, deconstructing narcissism, and understanding various other mental health-related issues. Her memoir, which explores the devastating impacts of deceit and betrayal, is due out next year.
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