We think it’s pretty safe to say nobody expected 2020 to go the way it’s going. In light of everything that is happening, we’d like to take a moment to give voice to our appreciation for the workers who are braving exposure and possibly quarantining themselves from their family in order to provide essential services to their community.
To the health care professionals, grocery store associates, gas station attendants, industrial manufacturers, auto mechanics, postal workers, and anyone else still punching the clock, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
To those of you at home who have had your life turned upside down by the need to distance yourselves from your daily routine, we’re thinking of you too! We know you’re making sacrifices to keep others safe and that can be stressful. We also know that we can all get through this as long as we support each other.
With that in mind, we wanted to dedicate this post to advice that will hopefully help the Urban Southern community to not simply survive this moment of upheaval, but to navigate through it by focusing on what’s important and finding ways to delight in every day.
Here are our 5 best tips for thriving during times of uncertainty:
Tune into Your Own Needs
Even though it comes with a heaping dose of uncertainty and stress, this is an unprecedented opportunity to focus on the things that matter most in your life. The flipside of the unknown is that there’s no predetermined rule of thumb. You get to decide what this time at home looks like for you and your family.
If you’re an introvert, take this time to indulge your inner hermit. If you’re an extrovert, prioritize alternative ways to feed your need for connection. If a structured routine or spotless house help you relax, go for it! If throwing the schedule out and prioritizing other activities over household chores makes you happiest, that’s fine too!
Whatever it is you always wish you had more time for – now is the time to do it! Write poetry, learn to draw, practice an instrument that’s been collecting dust. Work in your garden or snuggle up with a book. Bake with your kids or play games as a family. There’s no wrong way to stay home, except to not do it!
Get Creative About Connecting
Social butterflies, this one’s for you! Thanks to modern technology there’s never been more ways to connect in spite of distance. Apps like Zoom and Skype let you have a face to face conversation with friends and family while others like Marco Polo or Tik Tok allow you to send short videos back and forth with your faves or create your own music videos. There’s even a Chrome Extension that lets you watch Netflix with your friends – hooray for virtual movie nights!
If your access to technology is limited or you just prefer more traditional methods of communication, now is the perfect time to catch-up with a friend over the phone. We don’t recommend taking up letter writing since Covid-19, can survive on surfaces for up to 9 days, but taking the time to dial a friend might be just what you both need to feel connected.
Be Mindful About Consumption
This break in your busy schedule can be an ideal time to focus on things that may be subtly impacting your overall wellness. And while it may be tempting to overindulge in your favorite comfort foods or fall down a social media rabbit hole to take your mind off things, those behaviors may, in fact, increase your anxiety.
That’s not to say you should completely restrict yourself from self-soothing behaviors. Simply be mindful of what makes you feel better and what actually makes you feel worse. Eat the foods that make your entire body feel great, not just your tastebuds. Limit your media consumption to mornings-only if scrolling through headlines at bedtime keeps you up all night. There’s a fine line between staying informed and feeding your own fear. Do your best to stay on the right side of it.
Look For Ways to Help Others
Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” In times of uncertainty and scarcity, it may seem counterintuitive to give of yourself but giving is a key ingredient in personal happiness. And finding ways to give to others doesn’t necessarily have to relate to money (although it can). The important thing is to look at what you have that others may need. Then find a way to share your abundance.
If you’re able, monetary giving can look like anything from donating to your local food bank or shelter, ordering takeout from a local restaurant, or making a purchase from a friend’s Etsy shop. Non-monetary giving may look like sending someone you care about a sweet message to boost their spirits, picking up groceries for an elderly neighbor, or lending an ear to a friend who is overwhelmed. Big or small, acts of service are a great way to improve your own outlook in times of stress.
Give Yourself (and Others) Grace
The most important thing that we want our community members to keep in mind right now is to be kind to yourselves and others. We are all worried. We are all stressed. Now is not the time to expect perfection from anybody, especially yourself. Do your best, keep trying, ask for help if you need it, and offer help where you can. Keep your eye out for silver linings and post-storm rainbows. You never know when one might be just around the corner.