October 21, 2020
Ok. You’ve skimmed the blogs, posts, and articles about surviving the Covid-19 pandemic, and let’s face it, you’re over it. As we know from research, women often shoulder a large number of household tasks, child-rearing responsibilities, and caregiving. In general, role overload, exhaustion, burn-out, and overall struggles balancing work, home, and family can contribute to the disproportionate outcomes of anxiety and depression.
This season of our current global crisis is no different. We know that the current situation has brought on insurmountable amounts of stress, anxiety, depression, and burn-out for women across the globe–whether it’s becoming an impromptu homeschool teacher, rapidly shifting to working from home, trying to maintain focus for online classes, or scrambling to carry out the basic household tasks essential to living. In all of this chaos, taking care of oneself can seem like an utter impossibility—something that feels like a far-away, unattainable fantasy. Sister, It’s not. In fact, that’s a big fat lie.
You are not alone. We want to offer you 8 simple tips to help you regain a sense of control, balance, and peace.
1. Acknowledge, accept, and honor your feelings.
The overwhelm. The fear. The worry. The sadness, grief, and anger. They all are valid. No, you don’t have to act like everything is okay. Maybe you need to cry, journal, reflect, pray, or talk it out with someone you trust such as a friend or therapist. Whatever your means, give yourself space to feel your emotions. Instead of numbing yourself, gift yourself with the permission to feel and respond with openness, kindness, and care. In our western culture, the pressure to quickly shift and adapt can give little room for us to experience and respond to our emotions. Today, we invite you to radically tune into your feelings and move toward them with acceptance and respect. Ask yourself: “What are my emotions telling me?”, “What do I need?”. Listen to the answers and respond accordingly.
2. Eliminate unrealistic expectations.
You cannot do it all. You absolutely cannot. Read that again…over and over, until it settles into your heart and soul. You. cannot. do. it. all. You may be seeing your peers on social media that seemingly “have it all together”. Please believe, everyone has their own battles they are fighting and everyone copes in their own distinct way. Give yourself permission to not complete all of the items on your to-do list. What else are you expecting of yourself? To have dinner freshly cooked and ready? to work out every day? to get as much work done as you did before the pandemic? Whatever expectations you have set for yourself, examine them closely, and evaluate whether or not they’re realistic. Take some time to set realistic expectations (e.g. “Today, I will do what I can”) and remind yourself of them daily.
3. Take a pause and breathe.
Literally, take a moment to inhale, exhale, and breathe. A mindful moment. A soulful moment. So often, we do not even stop to notice or regulate our breathing. Take some deep breaths and allow yourself to pause. Prior to the pandemic, you may have had a few minutes of time to transition–perhaps while driving from one place to another, or even walking from class to class. You may not be traveling very far throughout the day (maybe just a few steps), but that does not mean you cannot take a 5-minute pause to decompress and regroup. Try breathing in deeply through your mouth for 5 seconds and exhaling slowly through your mouth for 7 seconds, then repeat.
4. Shift your mindset
With all of the uncertainty and unpredictability, it can be really tough to maintain a sense of hope. When we maintain a negative, defeatist, and pessimistic mindset, we tend to only notice things that confirm our beliefs. Practice maintaining a mindset of “realistic optimism”. The idea of balancing optimism with an adequate assessment of challenges. These are very challenging times, and, what value do you want to take from this experience? Is it a shifting of your priorities? Perhaps a deeper connection with oneself or others. How have you grown? and, What are you looking forward to in the future? We invite you to reflect on these questions and to answer them from deep within your heart space.
5. Ask for help
“I don’t want to bother them”, “They have their own lives to worry about”, “I don’t want to burden or cause stress for anyone”–these are some of the concerns we frequently hear in our practice. Asking for help can be difficult. What if you’re not heard? What if you’re needs aren’t met? Yes, this can be painful and disappointing. However, how will you know if you never ask for support? Especially now–leaning into whatever social supports you have is a critical and necessary action whether that’s a spouse, partner, friend, faith community, relative, or therapist. You are not alone. Our team of therapists is always here and ready to support you.
6. Move your body
Let’s be honest–many gyms are closed or limited, favored places you would frequent may be closed, and the social-distancing protocols can make it time-consuming at times to get out. Listen, you do not need to do a whole lot to maintain some type of activity. Simply doing gentle stretching or going for a walk can have a host of benefits. *Please consult your physician regarding beginning or engaging in any type of physical activity* Here at Women Rise, we offer individual or group yoga sessions to help calm your body and mind. Get in touch with us through our contact form to learn more!
7. Connect with nature
Spending time in nature can have a host of benefits (e.g. decreased stress and anxiety, spiritual connection, etc.) Make it a point to spend some time in nature (socially-distanced of course!) whether that’s at the park, at the beach, in your neighborhood, or at a plant nursery.
8. Practice Self-Compassion
So many times, we can be harsh with ourselves and engage in negative and critical self-talk. Self-compassion is gifting yourself with compassion and treating yourself the same way you would treat someone you love and care about. Dr. Kristin Neff, a leading researcher on self-compassion gives a practical suggestion of writing a compassionate letter to yourself (regarding a perceived flaw or challenge you have) from the perspective of someone that knows your flaws and imperfections, and still, deeply loves and cares about you. Next, she encourages you to allow those words of compassion to soak into your spirit. Even if you cannot identify an actual person, take a moment, and reflect on what you would imagine a person like this would say to you.
*Please Note: The information provided on or through this website or blog is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. Engaging with this material does not constitute a client/therapist relationship*