It’s been difficult to know how to start this post because it’s a weird time right now (“weird” being one of the biggest understated uses of a word that I’ve ever made). But social distancing and staying at home are becoming more and more imperative with each passing day, and with it comes the fear, panic and anxiety that’s unlike anything we’ve ever really dealt with. Since this is something that we’ll be facing for the foreseeable future, how do we adapt? What can we do to reduce some of the stress and calm ourselves down? Well, friends, I’m not an expert but I am here to help!
Social distancing is the buzzword in the U.S. right now, and rightfully so – it’s important and necessary and it’s not that hard to figure out what it means. And while it’s extremely important, it’s also not easy for people who are used to being out and about for the majority of the week. In fact, if you’re used to a more social lifestyle, social distancing can have a real impact on your mental health.
As I wrote on Tuesday, there’s plenty in the world to be anxious about – now more than usual. And while I hope everyone is doing the necessary preparations and taking proper precautions, I also know that it’s a very stressful time, and fear and panic can also do a number on our health if we don’t keep it in check.
After the events of the past few months, I feel comfortable saying it’s a nervous time right now – to say the least. And rather than tell you why that is, pretending I’m any sort of medical expert (I’ll just point you to the CDC), I want to focus on the anxiety that many of us feel right now surrounding the situation.
I started this week feeling a bit off. To be clear, this wasn’t in a good way or a bad way, it’s just kind of the conclusion I came to as my Monday progressed. Part of it is that this week will take me out of my usual routine, which always does something to make me slightly anxious. But the other part of it is this feeling that I’m missing something.
I talk about mental health a lot, I write about it a lot and I read about it a lot. It’s a big part of my life (if you haven’t guessed that already). When you’re learning about a new aspect of yourself, you want to learn as much as possible about that aspect so you can understand how to deal with it. In doing all of that, early on I learned about a few common misconceptions about mental health, and anxiety and depression in particular.
So an interesting thing happened over the weekend – I broke my laptop. Nothing major, just a cracked screen. I took it into the store the next day, they confirmed that’s all the damage was (no hardware issue), and I should have it back by the end of the week. When things like that happen in my life, events that warrant a reaction of any kind, I tend to use those as examples on my blog. It’s kind of a ‘lesson learned’ for how to react to certain things. But before I could get to writing, someone who’d been going through my blog (shoutout to the new reader!) gave me a helpful reminder that made me laugh out loud: I’d already written that post before.
Earlier this week, I wrote part one of this post where I talked about a possible approach to take when you feel overwhelmed. Obviously, there are many things we can do when feeling overwhelmed (I even wrote about some of those things last year), but this two-part post is more about the thought process we have while feeling this way, and some thoughts we can stick to so that we don’t feel too overwhelmed.
Sometimes life can be overwhelming. Regardless of the external or internal factors that cause it to be that way, we’ve all hit those moments in our lives where we just feel like it’s too much to handle. So how can we deal with it?