Staying in a place of sanity during COVID-19 is something that may not be an easy task at this moment. Last week we talked about things we should do and consider while social distancing in 20 Things You Can Do To Survive Social Distancing Things like a routine and staying connected with our loved ones help us maintain a sense of normality. A sense of control in a time when we have lost so much of it.
While that is very important, we have to equally consider the things we must stay away from. Things that not only can affect us but also our relationships with our loved ones. For that reason, I consider the following 16 things fundamentally important for you to stay away from.
1. Don’t Let People Guilt You
There is a quote going around that has received mixed reactions. I wanted to give you my take on it because it’s important to understand this quote. It represents judgment for the way we cope in an unprecedented moment.
If you don’t come out this with a new skill, new side hustle then you never lacked time, you lacked discipline
As someone that speaks on personal development, I can see how this quote can attract the overachiever at first glance. However, as a mother of two children, who are now homeschooling; as someone who is immune-compromised, I will tell you this quote is crap. I will even say this as a workaholic that I can be at times. This quote is an over expectation of people in a traumatic experience.
So many people right now are struggling mentally and physically because of this worldwide pandemic. It is reckless to judge you for needing this time for more important things than a side hustle. Do not allow people to judge you for how you are dealing with this unprecedented event.
2. Say No to dark things
I love melancholic music on rainy days. It gives me all the feels. However, listening to or watching sad, dark things will only add to the very anxious vibe in the air. It will actually lower your mood. Think about it, you are absorbing sad, dark, angry, dangerous. Only sad, dark, angry, and danger will then be felt by you. Consequently, that’s what you will project out into the world.
So don’t click on that conspiracy video. Don’t listen to your sad playlist. Instead try to watch and listen to positive, light-hearted things. I’ve opted for songs now that make me feel like dancing. You should do the same. Watch comedy movies that make you laugh. Listen to music that makes you feel good.
3. Don’t follow social media accounts that hurt you
Social media is like going to a video conference. Everyone shows a good side on top but everyone is a mess on the bottom. So don’t always believe all those posts from your friends living their best lives in the middle of a worldwide crisis. Now, do people have good moments? Absolutely, and we should celebrate those moments. However, that friend that always seems to be a perfect parent with his/her perfect children, understand it’s unrealistic. You need to pick your mental health over accounts that disturb it. Unfollow accounts that don’t reflect the way you want to cope with this moment and that will lower your mood. You can even mute their account so you don’t see their post for the time being if you don’t want to unfollow them.
4. Don’t Web MD
Right before the shutdown in the state of California, I had been out of the country. It was chilly where I was and honestly, I did not take care of myself by covering up. So when I got home, I immediately got sick. Not only was I worried because of my health but now I was overthinking everything! One small symptom sent me on a rabbit hole of conditions on We MD. I had to take a step back and realize what I was doing.
I know right now we are all a bit on edge. Especially with how quickly it can spread. Going on WebMD though, will not help your situation. If you have symptoms you are worried about then keep track of them. Then call your health care provider. To help ease your nerves you can also talk to a loved one but stay away from WebMD.
5. Don’t stay stagnate
Between stress and at home distractions you may be finding it harder and harder to concentrate. It’s okay to need time to process what’s going on. It isn’t okay however, to stay stagnate and throw all your schedule out the window. What that will do is give you extra time to overthink and fester in your worry. Not to mention you lose a sense of routine, a sense of control, and the sense of hope believe it or not.
If you drop everything what will tend to happen is you begin to spend more time watching TV or your phone. Your sleep then might suffer from all the blue light. Which in return up your stress and your irritability. It will also end up affecting your focus, your energy, and most importantly your mood. With low energy, high stress, and high irritability working out and moving your body will become harder which will result in high stress and low concentration. Do you see the vicious cycle?
Instead, get moving and stick to a simple routine. Do what works best for you but get off your couch, you can do this!
6. Don’t allow this difficult moment to poison you
In any situation, there is a mix of information and mixed opinions. Don’t allow this to make you something you know you aren’t. Be kind, even to those who don’t share the same opinion. Don’t listen to any news, thoughts, or opinions that point fingers, and that encourages you to hate. They are not worth your time and your peace.
7. Don’t over isolate
I am someone that likes to take a moment to process things. I try to make sure though to not over isolate. You may not notice it at first but with time you will find it harder to connect with your loved ones and it will lead to resentment. Which will result in you feeling alone in this difficult moment. No one should feel like they are alone in moments like this. Open up, your loved ones want to be there for you.
8. Don’t dismiss those that need you
Now the same way you shouldn’t over isolate, you also shouldn’t push your loved ones to over isolate either. How does this happen? By you not validating how they feel physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.
By simply listening without talking you can make someone feel heard and seen. Isn’t that what we need right now? To feel like someone sees us and understands us? If someone reaches out to you don’t dismiss their feelings or worry. Instead, encourage them. Share words of hope, be there for those that are weighed down by this moment. A simple “you are not alone” can go a long way. Remind people that just like they are there for you, you are there for them. Even if you think they know, say it. We all need that reminder when going through a tough time.
9. Don’t be the hero
I know this is counter-intuitive to a people pleaser. You want to make everyone happy and comfortable. It is normal to want to make people feel good. What is not okay is to drain yourself or stretch yourself thin for the sake of others. Remember that in order to give others the best, you must take care of yourself first. You can’t give from an empty cup. Be loving to yourself and focus on taking care of yourself first. Self-love over hero work.
10. Don’t get lost in your work
As someone that works from home, I can tell you that many times your dinner table, your couch, and your room can become your office. The problem with that is work will follow you. Soon you will be in bed working instead of sleeping. You will be working on a project at your dinner table instead of eating. Sometimes you can even forget to eat! I’ve been there.
What will help you is to determine your work areas, your leisure areas, and your schedule. Only then can you simulate somewhat of a regular workday.
11. Don’t welcome people that hurt you back
I know at this moment you may find yourself with time to think and contemplate life. Maybe even overthinking life. Extra time to sit with ourselves will do that. Not to mention moments when our mortality is questioned we tend to realize tomorrow is not promised. Which creates this need to connect with loved ones. But what happens when a toxic person from the past comes in? Do you let them in?
Please! The shitty people you worked so hard to release did not change! Remember that in 20 Things You Can Do To Survive Social Distancing I talked about not making rash decisions, well this is one of them. Letting someone that either cheated on you, backstabbed you, and were just plain toxic in your life will only make this very heavy time heavier. I know right now we feel like people shouldn’t be taken for granted and we should all stay connected. Remember they took you for granted. Not engaging doesn’t mean you wish them bad. It means you prioritize your peace and all the hard work you did to release them and that will always be the priority.
12. Don’t be too passive with people
The other day I caught myself saying “okay” to something I wasn’t okay with. I did this to end a conversation and end an argument. Now, picking your battles and understanding when to walk away is important. However, shutting down and giving what people want for the sake of not fighting is not okay. Voicing what you need is very important. Allowing people to make you uncomfortable so they can make themselves comfortable is also not okay. Compromising is the only way you will get out of this without killing each other. That can’t be done if you are being completely passive and not voicing what you need. Remember people do not mind read. If you say okay, guess what your loved ones will think? That you are okay with it! At that point, you can’t blame them for not reading in between the lines.
13. Don’t give yourself a hard time
If you didn’t do the dishes or take out the trash it does not make you a lazy person. Many times we can be our worst critic. On average we have anywhere from 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts. 80% of those thoughts are negative. Let that sink in. Don’t add to it by giving yourself a hard time for the things you didn’t accomplish in your day. Instead, focus on the things you did accomplish.
14. Don’t run from your emotions
I want you to know that there is a difference between distracting yourself and suppressing your feelings. Taking a moment to step away from your overwhelming feelings is okay. No one should carry stress 24/7. However, pretending you don’t have certain emotions will only result in an explosion of emotion later on. If you feel down acknowledge the feeling. Then acknowledge that feelings are fleeting, temporary.
15. Don’t become a pessimist
With so much negativity on the news, it’s difficult to not be infected with their negativity. Numbers, tragedies, division, arguments. It can make you feel like oh crap! we are screwed! I want to remind you that news is tragedy based. Why? Because it sells! Never base your emotions or outlook on life on the news or social media. Instead focus on looking for the good in your life. Practice gratitude, it will help you realize how you are winning in any situation. which will allow you to see the world and this situation through the eyes of an optimist, not a pessimist. It allows moments like this pandemic to seem less dark and uncertain.
16. Don’t hold high standards on your loved ones
Right now everyone is doing their best. We are all trying to cope with a traumatic collective experience. Not to mention some people are still working from home. Understanding that expecting people to do extra because they might have “extra time” is very toxic and it sets your relationships up for failure. You will place the person on the receiving end of these standards in a situation where they might feel they are not enough. Which leads to resentment. If you want your relationships to survive you must approach this with the understanding that we are all doing the best we can. So, be kind and understanding with your children, your partners, your siblings, and your parents.