Social distancing is hard, but doesn't’t have to mean social isolation. Think about creative ways to stay connected to the people in your life - from video chats, to online games, to sharing pictures, modern technology helps us feel less alone/lonely through a quarantine. While you’re connecting with friends and loved ones, take the time to share your concerns and your feelings, and check in with them about yours! Maintain healthy relationships, and build a strong support system.
Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking deep breaths and doing activities you usually enjoy.
Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals (whatever that means for you), exercise/move your body regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
Staying up to date on the news is important, and so is knowing your limits. How can you stay informed enough, without getting overwhelmed by a need to knoweverything?
First, find news sources you trust. Watch, listen to, or read updates from local officials and trusted, fact-checked news sources. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially online. Always check your sources, especially before posting to social media.
While it is important to stay informed, this does not mean you should be immersed in news stories about COVID-19 all day long. It is important to take breaks. Make a plan for your news consumption. Maybe check your preferred news source once a day, or limit your news consumption to a certain number of minutes or hours per week. Pay attention to your feelings and take breaks if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Find a balance that works for you.
People going through a hard time are often encouraged to "cheer up" or "just be happy." That might be difficult or unrealistic right now. The problem with encouraging people to always look on the bright side, and not talk about anything bad or negative, is that it's important to feel your feelings. This is how we learn more about ourselves, and make meaning in our lives. Plus, being open and authentic about your difficult feelings can help others who are feeling the same way.
"Why should I be complaining when so many other people have it worse than me?"
Have you had that thought recently? Brené Brown teaches that perspective is important, but comparison isn't helpful. Just because we don't have it as bad as others doesn't mean our feelings aren't real and our hurt isn't real. Your feelings are valid, and you are deserving of empathy. Being kind and empathetic towards ourselves is important, and actually helps us hold more empathy for others - not less.
The goal is not to practice "perfect" self-care, or to become extra-productive during this difficult time. Many people are finding it hard to do much right now, while others may be turning to productivity as a coping strategy. Don't believe everything you see on Instagram - everyone is struggling in different ways, even if they are not sharing it on social media.
Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and we're all doing the best we can. There's no "right" way to survive a pandemic. Do what you can, and be compassionate towards yourself regardless of your success or productivity.
If distress impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a counselor, clergy member, or doctor.