Managing Covid-19 in today’s world

We are experiencing unprecedented stress and loss at this time with no end in sight. Not knowing what will happen next or worrying whether we or our family members might get sick, is likely to create anxiety and fear. We must find new ways to manage stress and learn how to live in the moment. We must adapt our day-to-day routines to include social distancing, working remotely, and limiting our contact with those we love. This sense of isolation can take a toll on our emotional health and well-being. The following are a few suggestions to consider as you create your strategy to manage what feels unmanageable.

Create New Routines

  • Try to get out of bed at the same time each day
  • Plan your day in “chunks” of time (consider categories such as meals, work, study, exercise, housework, and connecting online with friends and family)
  • Plan for repeating weekday and weekend routines
  • Use your calendar to schedule tasks and activities
  • Create to-do lists
  • Shower and get dressed every day
  • Build rewards into each day
  • Become comfortable wearing a mask in public

Stay Connected

  • Improve your technology skills to help you stay in touch with others
  • Create Zoom or Google groups with friends and family
  • Share meals and celebrations via Zoom or Google
  • Play games
  • Check in regularly with those you love and with those you are the most concerned about
  • Consider outdoor activities such as going to a park, hiking, or gardening (keep proper social distancing in mind)

Self-Care

  • Practice increased hygiene, especially washing hands with soap
  • Eat balanced and nutritious meals (increase fruits and veggies)
  • Observe your use of alcohol
  • Listen to music and add to your playlist
  • Pull out the pile of books you have always wanted to read
  • Read aloud to children via Zoom
  • Watch movies and TV shows from the genres you find entertaining. For example, list all of your favorite movies and have a Movie Night with popcorn
  • Work on jigsaw puzzles
  • Learn to cook new dishes; create dinner theme nights
  • Try your hand at baking
  • Exercise both indoors and outdoors
  • Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings, including lists of wishes and hopes for the future
  • Try an online relaxation or meditation app such as Headspace
  • Look at the things that are good in your life

Limit Media Exposure

  • Stick to reliable sources for information about COVID-19, such as the WHO, CDC, or local government agencies
  • Limit the amount of time you interact with the news each day
  • Consider restricting your news coverage to a regularly scheduled hour of the day
  • Only post or forward information from reliable sources
  • Remember that information changes daily, so do not overrespond to today’s update

Self-Awareness

  • Observe sleep habits; create going-to-bed routines
  • Stop all screens 60 minutes before starting your going-to-bed routine
  • Examine your thinking and the presence of anxiety and stress. Ask for support if you are feeling overwhelmed
  • Discuss worries and concerns with those you trust, including your therapist or spiritual leader
  • Remind yourself of your strengths and of all the things you have been through in your life. Also remind yourself that you were able to get to the other side
  • Decide to be the best you post-pandemic

*Referenced in part from Psychosocial Oncology, DFCI