Finding Balance. Ideas on How You Can Take a Mental Break from COVID-19 Media
Updates and Thoughts
Hello my friends. I have been thinking about ALL of you all over the world and praying that you are well. This past week has been tough on everyone. With the news every day of more and more cases of the coronavirus, I pray each day for my colleagues and other healthcare providers. They are on the frontlines of the war with this virus. A couple of weeks ago, we temporarily closed the pulmonary rehab where I work. I miss my patients. I miss my dear friend and coworker, but I know right now that their place right now is at home…safe. My place right now is with my children…That is until I get called in to help fight. Speaking of my children, they are out for the rest of the school year. Any of you who are parents of young children understand that we have to be there to find some sort of new normal for our kiddos as well as pick up the education piece of the puzzle and see where we can fit that into our daily routine. I struggle with this and I don’t have a chronic lung condition… I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to add that to your level of stress. As I have said before (and I mean it)… We ARE in this TOGETHER.
So being that the coronavirus is on everyone’s minds and that we are all just trying to figure out routines and normalcy… this week, I truly just wanted to reach out and talk with my readers. I am literally going to use my blog like… well… a blog. I want to have a conversation with you because like I said… I miss my patients. Each week my pulmonary patients provide me with self-worth and job satisfaction because of their willingness to want to feel their best and try their damnedest to live their best life. I get to be a small part of their journey and take pride in their successes and be there for them when things don’t go as they expected. I love doing this for my kids as well but after being a healthcare provider for 17 years, it’s ingrained in me to want to do this for others as well. In this strange time, I have to ask myself how do I find happiness and fulfillment by staying at home?
My thought this week was to help you all “find a balance” when it comes to COVID-19. By that I mean, I wanted to give you all some ideas on how to take a mental break from all the media that surrounds us every day on COVID-19. I have to admit… It took me a while to write this blog because when researching my ideas, I would easily get caught up reading posts or emails that I had gotten with updates on virus numbers and what our government is trying to do to help out our citizens. But, it’s not good for me to be hyper-focused 24/7 on all the media attention to this virus because it increases my stress level. As you all know, increased stress, therefore, increases your shortness of breath. We all need a break from the media and social media each day.
Here are some of my suggestions that may help you to focus your efforts on something other than a mass pandemic and recharge your mental batteries while staying in the house.
1. Read – Everyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a huge reader, but just for a half-hour a day, I want to get my mind off current events. What am I reading? For me… it has to be something light. I am currently reading I Mom So Hard. These ladies are hysterical and give me the “escape” I need.
2. Selfcare – Taking care of yourself is a major part of your overall wellness. A way to give yourself a mental break is taking it one step further. Taking a bubble bath, giving yourself a facial, painting your nails or taking turns giving your spouse or partner a back massage can decrease stress and anxiety.
3. Start a journal – Journaling your thoughts and feelings during this difficult time is very therapeutic. Many of you live by yourself and don’t want to “offload” emotions to family and friends when you get the opportunity to finally chat. Having a journal will help you mentally and emotionally “cleanse your palate.” This is not to say that you shouldn’t share your concerns with the people that you love but keeping a diary/journal can really assist you in processing the feeling and thoughts that you have while they are going on.
4. Listen to music – Those of you that have been following my blog know that in the little free time that I get away from kiddos that I like to attend concerts. Music itself has always been an escape for me. Just by turning on the radio, I can often place myself mentally there in the audience enjoying the music as it is performed. My kiddos love to have dance parties in the family room. Lately, they discovered this guy named “Michael Jackson.” Haha! I totally get a kick out of watching them dance to “Bad” and “Thriller” as if it was just released yesterday. Turn up the volume, close your eyes, and let your favorite jams take you away.
5. Get some fresh air – The temperature in the last few days in Virginia is becoming milder. I have been trying to spend more and more time outside just enjoying the breeze. Yesterday it was only about 50 degrees, yet I put a jacket on, picked up a throw blanket, and headed out to my back porch just to sit for 20-30 minutes. The fresh air, sights, and sounds of just sitting outside really helped out the cabin fever that I had been experiencing.
6. Get organized – You know all those “rainy day” projects that you have been putting off? Now is the time to start on them. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by starting more than one at a time. We all have that “junk drawer” in our kitchen. Take everything out of it and throw away what you don’t need. You might actually find things that you have been looking for months to find. Go into your closet and start a “give away” bag. With many people out of work and going through financial difficulties, places like Goodwill, churches, the Salvation Army, and homeless shelters will need items to hand out to those in need. Plan to take those items to these locations when the coronavirus has cleared from your area.
7. Start a puzzle – My sister in South Carolina loves to solve the most complicated jigsaw puzzles. It has become a tradition when we visit her at the beach to work on a puzzle together. Oddly enough, though complicated, it is totally satisfying and stress relieving to work on a large puzzle. I think it is a fun idea to do during this coronavirus pandemic. Since you aren’t entertaining friends for dinner… use your dining table or set up a card table and work on a puzzle of your own.
8. “Bored” Games – Do you know what will get your mind off of a pandemic? A long game of monopoly! Seriously, I think I have about 20 different games in the house that we rarely use because my kids instantly gravitate toward a screen or we have so many activities going on that slowing down to play a game isn’t a priority. However, if you are “hunkered down” with family, an activity that you can do is gather around a good old fashion board game or break out a deck of cards for a game of Rummy or Poker. Kids these days aren’t familiar with the card games we played growing up. You will find that this activity will definitely get your mind off of current events and fill your time with and old favorite pastime.
9. Challenge Your Mind – As we age it is important to spend time challenging your mind. Spend a few moments each day doing a crossword puzzle, a word search, or a Sudoku game. They have books with many of these games in them and some of them are in large print.
10. Virtual Tours – Right now museums and attractions are closed but many of these places are offering free virtual tours of their facility. Google offers an Arts and Culture experience which is a partnership agreement with 151 museums and arts organizations from 40 countries. The platform now features more than 32,000 artworks from 46 museums. Google also launched a second version of the website with new features, enhanced search capabilities, and a series of educational tools. For all my international friends, this is available in 18 different languages as well.
11. Check out your local library’s webpage – Many local libraries off books and audiobooks free to download! You can’t get any better than that. They may have a limit on how many downloads they can offer at one time for each book so some titles might be waitlisted for a few days. Audiobooks are often recorded by the author of the book. It is great to hear how they interpret the “storytelling” with a personal touch.
How are you staying busy in your homes? Comment below or on my Facebook page to share your own tips for mental and emotional breaks from all the media surrounding the COVID-19 virus. Also, I really love hearing from my readers. Feel free to email me with questions, topic suggestions or just to say “Hi!” My email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading! I am going to try my best to publish a new article each week to keep in touch. As I know that for many of you, it is nice to hear from someone who in the medical community relates to having a lung diagnosis. Again, for everyone out there. Stay healthy. Stay home. Wash your hands.
If you enjoyed this blog, I invite you to check out some of the topics I have covered in the past
Remember: We are in this TOGETHER!
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