I have been involved in different discussions with many different people lately who are STUCK like the anchor of a ship. Not only are they stuck at home, following social distancing and protection measures, but they are STUCK in all ways physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
We are all sequestered in our homes and expected to stay there with no definitive timeline as to how long the pandemic will last. So, with all this “at home” time, many people thought that there “To Do” lists would start to dwindle… that “free time” would be filled with all of the activities that the normal hustle of the world won’t allot time for. The trouble is that, even with all this time spent at home, nothing is really getting accomplished with so many people outside of just the normal everyday survival.
Many people have heard about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and many people suffer with the symptoms of this disorder in their everyday lives. PTSD is not limited to veterans as some would believe. PTSD can and does occur in the lives of every human being… some on a grand scale and some at slightly more tolerable levels. Suffice it to say that if you are human, at some point you have experienced a trauma that has changed you in some way. Coping with that trauma or multiple traumas can manifest itself in many ways. PTSD encompasses the negative manifestations and has varying degrees and also associated issues and disorders that can come along with it. PTSD can be extremely debilitating to the point of illness and even death in some cases.
Here’s a thought to ponder… In these times we are living in now, way outside of our perspective comfort zones, we are all suffering, to varying degrees with PTSD—PRESENT TIME STRESS DISORDER.
We have all been over-exposed to fear, misinformation, hysteria and panic in the past few months and that all plays a huge part in our thinking and in our doing. Add to the mix that there are no definitive timelines as to how long we all have to live this way and that we are constantly asked to remain vigilant while we sift through the daily inundations of information and we have the perfect recipe for disaster.
– Many people report that they are sitting around doing nothing—staring off into space.
– Others report that they have no motivation—choosing to do nothing and then to feel riddled with guilt for doing nothing.
– Many report that their screen time and TV times have increased almost 100% with the majority of it being negative information that tends to increase feelings of hopelessness, anger, frustration and sadness.
– Many report that they are eating more and more and in search of comfort foods to keep them satisfied. Many have also reported that their daily alcohol consumption rates have increased.
– Many report sleeping for longer hours and napping frequently as well.
These are all symptoms of stress overload in our lives. When we are placed under great pressure, we tend to close in on ourselves as a protective measure… we simply NUMB OUT. Don’t feel guilty if this is you. You are not alone.
So what can be done to mitigate the symptoms of PRESENT TIME STRESS DISORDER?
– Have a goal for every day. Start small and work your way up from there. Cleaning, personal, exercise, meal planning… these are all goals and when you have a goal, you can get things done. Make sure to attach reasonable time frames to each of your goals.
– Get up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time every day. Limit or eliminate nap times during the day.
– Choose ONE news source and eliminate all the others. Limit your screen and online times to less that 1/3 of your waking hours.
– Get dressed, tidy yourself up and put your best foot forward every day. Leave the night clothes for the night and the comfy clothes for relaxing times. The rest of the day, you are ready to take on the world.
– Practice positive self-affirmations, meditations or readings that make you feel inspired and motivated.
– Schedule time to spend on the phone or online in conference calls with friends and family to keep in touch and to keep current on what’s going on.
– Stay out of the kitchen, and in particular the fridge, until meal times! You are NOT hungry, you are bored or scared so do something productive to get rid of that feeling other than eating.
- AVOID alcohol or other drugs of choice as a way of departing from reality.
– Get CURIOUS about what you can do around home to keep yourself busy. If you are a crafter, what can you create? A reader, start working through that stack. What have you got at home that can keep you amused?
– Separate your amusement from chores! OR throw on your favorite tunes and tackle one small project at time (if you’re cleaning or purging… one room at a time, sectioned off into 1-2 hour segments).
– Reward your “change of mind and attitude” with amusement! Share with others ONLY your positive accomplishments.
– Try to go ONE whole day without berating yourself or giving into fear and panic… You are home, you are safe! Once you get through one day… make it TWO… and so on.
You are not an island unto yourself even though right now with stay at home and virus scares it tends to feel that way.
You have a choice every single day…
– STAY THE SAME, NOTHING CHANGES
– RISE AND MEET THIS TIME AND THESE CHALLENGES WITH COURAGE AND A PLAN
I believe in all of you! Hang in there. YOU are not alone in how you feel. Reach out and share your feeling with others and look for the supports that you need to cope.
Finally, be easy on yourself. Your body, mind and spirit are doing things right now… working to create coping mechanisms to help you to make sense of and navigate through your days. Listen to your body, listen to your gut. You are your best resource when it comes to knowing what is best for you!
… Be Calm,
… Be Safe