Emotional

5 Practical Ways to Cope With Changes Brought On by the Pandemic

How to adjust to changes brought on by the pandemic.

By: Chelsea Frank

In times of uncertainty and great change, finding a new normal can feel incredibly scary. We may be asking ourselves, “what is life going to look like? Will I ever feel balanced again? What do I do with all of these anxious feelings I’m having?” These are all normal questions and feelings, and you’re definitely not alone.

It’s not about suppressing our feelings, but learning ways to cope with them so we can create a new sense of normalcy and stability. Here are 5 ways to cope with the new normal, so you can live a healthy, productive, and full life, even in these strange times!

#1 Create Structure

One of the best things you can do when life feels turned upside down is create your own structure. In fact, research shows that developing good habits, routines, and structure is important, but can be difficult to stick to if you don’t make them easy to manage and attainable. Here’s a few ways to make structure and forming good habits easier:

  • Schedule. Creating a strict schedule will take decision-making off the table when it comes to maintaining your new habits. Put that workout down on the calendar, plan for a 4 PM meditation session, or pencil in meal prepping for Sunday at noon. Get it down on paper so it becomes simple and non-negotiable!
  • Create a morning routine. Starting your day with a strong morning routine can really make you feel grounded and intentional. Maybe decide on a morning stretch or walk around the block, or drink a glass of lemon water each morning right when you wake up. 
  • Make lists. You can make lists the night before for all your next-day commitments, or to-do lists for the week.

#2 Find Ways to Relax

If you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or worried about what the new normal will look like, you’re actually pretty… well, normal. That’s why relaxation and prioritizing self care is so crucial. Studies show that relaxation reduces stress, anger, frustration, tension, chronic pain, and blood pressure, and can improve mood. Here are some ways to relax:

  • Yoga and deep breathing.
  • Meditation. You can try an app, like Headspace or Calm to get started!
  • Take a hot bath.
  • Listen to music.
  • Engage in prayer, if that’s meaningful for you.
  • Read a book.
  • Journal.
  • Ask a loved one to give you a massage or foot rub.

#3 Maintain Close Relationships

Studies show that loving relationships have several health benefits, like living longer, better immune systems, healing quicker, and even good heart health! Even though we might not be able to see the people we love face to face yet, we can still utilize all that technology has to offer. Attend Zoom happy hours, FaceTime with loved ones, text, or chat with your friends. Ask for support if you need it. The point is to maintain community and a sense of belonging however you can, regardless of the limitations you may be facing.

#4 Set Social Media Boundaries

Social media can be informative, fun, and useful for business — but it can also drive you totally nuts. In these tumultuous times, it might be best to set some social media boundaries so you can protect yourself from all the chaos. Maybe schedule in social media times (for example, “I’m going to check Facebook at 10 AM and 8 PM for ten minutes). You can also set restrictions on your phone, if you’re too tempted to keep checking!

#5 Work on Changing Your Mindset

Sometimes our expectations can be our biggest obstacles. The fact is, life is pretty weird right now. You might not be able to have all the things you’re used to, or engage in the activities that you love to do. It’s frustrating. But, we must do our best to change our mindset and expectations if we want to succeed in the new normal. Here are some ways to change your mindset for easier adaptation:

  • Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t. Maybe that means you can spend more time with your kids, or develop your cooking skills like never before.
  • Try not to take your frustrations out on your family, roommates, or partner. Work on problem solving and being helpful, rather than airing out every frustration you have with them. It’ll make hunkering down much more pleasant – for everyone!
  • Journal your thoughts, feelings, and frustrations so you can get them out and work through them, rather than suppress them and let them eat away at you. Studies show that journaling can help you achieve more positive self-talk and process difficult emotions.

Self Care Is Everything

Finding a new normal in this crazy time can feel overwhelming and frustrating. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that we take care of ourselves as best we can, with patience, love, and acceptance. It’s okay to feel anxious, but it’s what we do with that anxiety that matters most. Prioritize self-care, and the new normal will reveal itself!