It seems so long since the burgeoning excitement for springtime swept through Illinois. The relief of longer and sunnier days has quickly given way to immense anxiety in this age of Coronavirus. Folks are fearing for their health and safety as their outlets and escapes simultaneously become eliminated. With an understandable focus on physiological symptoms, many of us are finding our resolve and mental health diminishing. As we are forced into increased isolation and out of our comfortable routines, it can be so hard to see the proverbial light at the end of this tunnel.
Exponential efforts are being taken each day for preventative care. Many are asking what they can do and how they can help. Chief among our greatest needs in this society right now are peace, hope, and connection. One of my young clients commented, “This feels like a power outage, and every day it’s like the darkness is deepening.” Just as we gather around candles with games and books when the lights go out, so too can we find means of escape from our quarantines and from the scary news from the world around us.
Whether it’s Legos or Lincoln Logs, a diary or poetry journal, crayons or digital art, now is a perfect time to hone your creativity. Family or couples’ projects are especially encouraged. Paint that room you’ve been meaning to work on. Bump that spring cleaning up a few weeks. Dust off the toolbox in the garage. Make music. Play improve games. Build a Ninja Warrior obstacle course. Lose yourself in passionate imaginativeness.
Take advantage of the benefits of digital technology. Break out the video games and the virtual reality sets. Catch up on your favorite shows, and check out the many recommended films available for streaming. Dive into a good book or short story. Engage your family members in a round of cards or an old board game. Download games like Psych and challenge friends to a remote match. Practice a guided meditation and take yourself for a walk on the beach, a stroll through an enchanted forest, or simply enjoy the art of deep breathing. Make your living space a home gym. Let yourself get away.
Call those near and dear to your heart. Get on Skype, WhatsApp, or FaceTime. Be informed, but don’t oversaturate yourself with bad news. Share your ideas, your concerns, your fantasies, and your love. Share that silly meme and that joke Grandpa used to tell. It’s okay, imperative in fact, to laugh and to mine for the lighter moments these days. If you’re able, look into volunteer opportunities to provide food or comfort for those in need. Write and call your local representatives, and don’t be shy. Help them help you. And please, keep the conversation going with your therapists, doctors, and any professionals in your life who can provide clarity and care.
Two cornerstones of this Coronavirus are uncertainty and a lack of control – The dictionary definition of the causes of anxiety. It may seem impossible to ward off these worries, and they are inevitable to the degree of our humanity. Think of yourself as a miner, hunting for normalcy and positivity. Information, answers, and solutions are forthcoming. Nothing is more resilient, more powerful, than the human spirit. Take good care of yourselves and your dear ones. As the folk duo Friend & Lover once sang, “Reach out in the darkness, and you may find a friend.” We are in this together. And we shall overcome.
If you need help during this time of uncertainty, reach out to LifeStance Health today.