Navigating COVID-19 restrictions has left many of us feeling trapped.
Every day we make hard decisions and do our best in less-than-ideal circumstances. None of us are immune to the domino effect that the restrictions have had, and I truly believe that we’re all doing our best with the cards we are dealt.
The worst feeling is when you find yourself in a situation and you do not like any of your given options. You can not just shake it off, move on or suck it up. Your control is limited and that does not sit well with you. So, how do you cope?
Listen, I am right there with you, and we are not alone. I have somewhat mastered the coping mechanisms below because there was truly no escape from my husband’s cancer diagnosis. So, while I was coping with the present, I also had to prepare myself for the inevitable future.
My go-to coping activities
Leaned on my friends & family
Vince slept a lot towards the end so when I got lonely and scared, I would call and text my friends a lot. My friends couldn’t change what was happening, but for that 15 to 30 minute call/text I was able to change my mindset and think of something else other than my terminally ill husband.
Practiced reiki and meditation
I worked with master reiki practitioners to teach me how to ground myself and heal my broken heart. Meditation gave me an opportunity to sit with myself, be honest about my reality, focus on the things that are within my control and create space to work through the deep and heavy feelings that lived in my heart. As I acknowledged them, I felt lighter and better able to tackle them as many times as I needed to.
Focus on things within my control
I couldn’t control his cancer from spreading, and had to let go of that responsibility. He had an incredible care team and I had to let his doctors take over. For my part, I could control and focus on the emotional support I was able to give him with. I found strength in being his advocate and speaking up in his interest. Regaining any of your control in a hopeless situation brings you more power than you can imagine.
Invested in self care
We live in an over-commercial world. Self care has become more about purchasing power than the actual caring for the self. Make sure you define self care and what fills your cup, and then invest in it like you would invest in the hottest stock. And by invest, I mean your time and energy – not necessarily financial investments. Adopt a healthy diet, exercise as much as you can (this prompted better sleep), reinforce your boundaries, and explore to learn what stress-release activities work for you. For me, acupuncture released some of my stress, especially when I paired it with meditation.
Journaling and blogging
Writing and sharing my journey really helped release some of my negative feelings. Also, sharing and receiving support from my network made me realize that I am not alone. One thing that always held me back was what I thought I would be perceived as, or what people would respond to me with.
Are you ready to be surprised? People have responded privately. They have responded with empathy, usually sharing their stories of loss and resilience, and always included an offer of support. If you’re going through a hard time, never hesitate to put your story out there. You are never alone. The human experience and the journey is not a solitary road – it really does take a village.
Despair can breed opportunities for growth. Don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it and thrive. This builds the resilience we need to move forward.
If you want to do a deeper dive on these coping mechanisms, get in touch with me. I’m happy to help you get unstuck.