Coping with the Pandemic Anniversary
By Nicholette Leanza, LPCC-S
While we might feel small, separate, and all alone,
Our people have never been more closely tethered.
The question isn’t if we will weather this unknown,
But how we will weather this unknown together.
– Amanda Gorman – The Miracle of Morning
March 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of when Covid-19 became a household name. Anniversaries are usually associated with celebrations but with this anniversary, we feel the weight of a pandemic that has continued to affect each one of us on so many levels.
We continue to mourn the lives that have been lost to Covid as well as mourn the loss of life as we once knew it. The arrival of the vaccine has ushered in the feeling that hope is on the horizon but until we’re able to fully conquer this virus, we must continue to endure the tribulations the pandemic has caused in our daily lives.
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Here are some reminders on how to promote positive mental health as we hit this one-year milestone of the pandemic:
Stack-on the Self-Care
Self-care is everything you do to tend to your own needs. It is not only focusing on eating healthy and exercising but also doing the little things that nurture yourself like making time to do the things you enjoy. You may love hiking, taking a luxurious bath, or reading exciting mystery novels. Practicing self-care can really help you feel rejuvenated even as we continue to navigate the disruptions to our daily lives caused by the pandemic.
Mix It Up with Mindfulness
Mindfulness is all about slowing down and really becoming fully aware of the present moment. It is the ability to acknowledge and accept your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. There are so many ways you can practice mindfulness. Instead of just gulping down your lunch in between work meetings, you can take smaller bites and really savor the taste of what you are eating. Or you may want to listen to music where you focus on one instrument like the drum beat or the violins and you will find that this can be rather soothing. Practicing mindfulness will lead you to appreciate things on a deeper level.
Give In to Gratitude
It is so easy to focus on all the negatives this pandemic has produced but it is more important than ever that we turn our minds toward gratitude. It feels good to be thankful and it’s also a quick way to shift to a more positive mindset. Maybe before going to sleep, reflect on all the things that went right in the course of your day (instead of what went wrong), and then be thankful for it. There are stories of hope peppered throughout our navigation of this pandemic and we have to choose to find and appreciate those stories.
Resilience is all about how we bounce back from adversity. It’s the lessons we learn along the way and what keeps us going. Developing resilience in our lives is crucial and it is also the tool that enables us to move forward and to let go. There are lessons to be learned from all of life’s challenges and from this pandemic. It is often our hardships that make us stronger individuals and successful at conquering our fears.
You will find that practicing the skills of self-care, mindfulness, gratitude, and resilience will definitely help you build inner strength to overcome these very trying times.