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Let’s be honest, we all have good and bad ways of dealing with stress. I think we can all extend some forgiveness to ourselves as this is an actual pandemic and uncharted territory. I do think that in these times, though, we can learn some lessons that we can use in life post COVID-19. First, let’s talk about what unhealthy coping skills can look like:
-Buying several packages of toilet paper at Costco and hoarding them in our basement. (Ha--just kidding….but sort of not). What this comes down to is A.) panicking and B. overspending. We all are guilty of having too much “stuff” in our life and buying things when we can’t really afford them. Managing our money well will be even more vital when business starts picking up again so why not start now and create a budget? It will be a game-changer for your business and stress level.
-Who has found some comfort in some mac and cheese or eaten a few more carbs than usual since we've been quarantined at home? No? Well, you are an inspiration to us all. If yes (like most of us), we have found some delight in overeating, not eating much at all or just not sticking to a healthy diet. We have been doing more “Netflix and chill” than usual and forgotten about our exercise routines. This is called lack of self-care.
-This whole situation has caused a lot of stress with not making money and it is a temptation to talk to your network about how depressing it is. Negative self talk or engaging in toxic conversations is also not a great way to deal with stress. At this time, we all need to be supportive but also be proactive in motivating each other with solutions.
-Have you had lots of Zoom happy hours these past few weeks? Hey, it is 5 o’clock somewhere but drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis is not healthy. We can be coping with alcohol more than we would like to admit but think this also is a way people cope even when we aren’t spending as much time at home.
-If you are one that doesn’t get much sleep, you may have found that having the time at home has helped you to give some needed Zzz’s but you may also be finding yourself with odd sleep patterns or not sleeping at all. Especially if you are at home alone and not working, it is easy to isolate and not connect with others. Community and connection are so important!
Now, let’s focus on what some healthy coping skills look like:
1. There are a lot of free budgeting tools out there and now is the time to get organized! Although not earning money is stressful, you will be much more successful when you have a plan to manage your money. Also, try to stay away from online retail shopping right now unless it’s going to save you time and money once you are back to work.
2. Focus on self-care. Keeping a journal of what you are eating and what exercise you do each day is also a free and easy accountability. Do a face mask, do your hair, do your nails-whatever brings you some joy. Try turning on alerts on your phone so you can limit the time you are on YouTube or Instagram. You can do this when you are back to work, too, to create a better balance.
3. Try to avoid people that when you leave the conversation, you feel worse, not better. More than ever, you need positivity and a support network. Surround yourself with people who make you want to be better.
4. Limit the amount of alcohol intake. Give yourself an amount at the beginning of each week and don’t go past that limit. Alcohol is actually a depressant and doesn’t make you feel better long-term.
5. Whether or not you are trying to avoid your problems by sleeping, the problem will still be there when you wake up. Stick to a sleeping routine each day so that your sleep patterns stay on course.
It is important that you find what works for you. We are all different people but it’s important that we are aware of these things so we can be proactive in changing daily routines and habits now so we are equipped with these tools for when we are working again. Invest in yourself and start today.