2020 will undoubtedly go down as a year we will all remember. It’s pushed us in many
ways, challenging us to slow down and reminding us that control is an illusion. As
families have been impacted in a number of ways, cancelling vacations, working from
home, managing child care and working their full time job, there continues to be
mounting health concerns, fears around the economy, and the list goes on. It's been
more important than ever that we find ways to feel grounded, resilient, and strong, as
many of us have been mentally and emotionally tested. The political landscape is
turbulent, the health and wellness of our families is at risk, life as we know it has
completely been turned upside down.
As a therapist working remotely and seeing clients in person, I hear the countless ways
that this is impacting individual’s mental health. Grief, anxiety, stress, irritability, the list
goes on. We are feeling the impact of Covid. In this article I share 5 ways that can
support you in keeping a strong, resilient mindset in difficult times.
1. Manage Expectations. Set small, achievable goals for your day and your weeks.
With so much uncertainty and access being limited, it’s easy to feel let down when
things don’t go your way. With out assuming the worst or expecting something bad to
happen, it’s a powerful practice to prepare for there to be change or problems that arise
during these times. It's in our nature to resist what’s happening and cling to the way we
want them to be, but minimizing your expectations can be a supportive practice when it
comes to maintaining our mental health. It’s easy to get drawn into over committing and
under delivering, when we feel that there is a surplus of time available to us. You will
feel best when you keep it simple.
2. Develop a Routine. Routine is our friend in times like this. When the news is
changing daily, our day to day life can start to feel a bit out of control. Creating some
sort of routine to help you feel grounded and give you a sense of stability and
predictability can help feelings of anxiety. It can be soothing to have your morning coffee
in your favorite part of the home, write in your gratitude journal, go on an evening walk,
or perhaps incorporate some stretching each night before bed. Any structure or routine
that you can incorporate in your day will go a long way in supporting your mental and
3. Be Kind to Yourself. It’s easy to get frustrated and critical in regards to how you’re
spending your time, or your lack of inspiration, or maybe you’re just sick and tired of
being sick and tired. We can also fall prey to the comparison game when our neighbors
have picked up baking and started a podcast or your social media friends created a new
business and are learning a second language. This is when practicing mindfulness is so
important so that we can bring gentle awareness to our thoughts, feelings, and
emotions. Our inner critic can be brutal in challenging times, but if we’re aware of that
voice in our head we can shift our thoughts to something more positive and up-lifting.
4. Stay Connected. - Its easy to isolate, especially when social distancing is being
encouraged and most of the spaces we’re accustomed to connecting with others is
closed and considered off limits during this time. Its so important to find connections
where you can. Maybe this means scheduling a family Zoom Session, face timing a
friend once a week, or going on a walk with a friend. When we dwell in isolation, it’s
easy to feel disconnected and experience a greater sense of sadness. Get creative
when it comes to activities and finding ways to engage with others. We need each
5. Stay Present. It's so easy to get caught up in all the “what ifs” regarding the future, or
dwell in anger or regret about the way things have played out thus far. This is a thought
process that leads us to feeling distressed and uneasy. When we can notice our
thoughts in real time and remain present, we’re able to embrace life one moment at a
time. Often our mind wants to be anywhere, but here. When you notice your thoughts
drifting away, bring them back to the present moment. This is a powerful mindset shift
that cultivates a greater sense of joy, connection, and gratitude.
During this time, and any difficult time, it is so important to have a healthy mindset.
When facing challenges, our attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs play a huge role in the way
that we’re able to relate to the experience and the resilience we can tap into. Now it’s
more important than ever that we prioritize our mental health and take care of
ourselves. I hope these tips are useful and practical as we approach the Fall season.