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101 things YOU are doing to manage your mental health in a global pandemic

Mental Health + Pandemic

Most quarantine days have started with high hopes of doing big things—like keeping my cool, being kind, not crying before noon.  But then real-life hits. It’s 10 a.m., the house is a disaster, my oldest is screaming in my face, and my youngest is drinking out of the toilet.  The chaos is palpable.  I feel it, my kids feel it, we all feel it. 

Quarantine life has been overwhelming—on a sensory, emotional, and physical level.  Add in job loss, willful children, financial uncertainty.  And chances are, we are the privileged ones!

I love my family.  There has been so much joy sprinkled in the chaos. I don’t want to discount the sweet moments. They are real and I treasure them.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. 

It doesn’t mean I’m not struggling to stay afloat.

It doesn’t mean you aren’t either.

So what do we do?

How do we find meaning in days that seem to blur together?

How do we manage mental health during a global pandemic? On a basic level.

There’s a little creek walking distance from our house, I love to sit and watch the water flow.  Breathing the fresh air, feeling the grass beneath my feet.  It grounds me.   I pour my  worries and fears out in jumbled prayers in my journal.  I remind myself that God’s promises are not dependent on our world’s circumstances, and definitely not mine.

101 things have helped you manage your mental health during a pandemic

I asked some of you what things helped you manage mental health during a pandemic.  I loved reading your responses!  I was reminded I am not alone and that as humans because we are capable of finding joy in the mundane.  We are resilient.  And creative! Here are some of your responses:

  1.  Trying to eat better foods that are serving my body well and having lots of grace for myself in EVERY area knowing this is a hard season, it’s ok to “mess up.  (Jennifer L.)

  1. Taking things slower, managing my expectations in regards to productivity (personal and work life).  (Allie T.)                            

  1. Spending as much time as possible outdoors in the sunshine.  (Penny F.)

  1. Exercising outside.  (Cindy H.)

  1. Sitting outside and being still with God.  (Tara M.)

  1. My husband, the optimist!  (Kelsey D.)

  1. Getting back to basics (riding bikes, game nights, movie nights, dinner around the table).  (Meghann F.)

  1. Being present with my kids–especially when we can get outside.  (Samantha L.)

  1. Taking walks and seeing neighbors.  Also, just going to the grocery store where I could see people was really something I looked forward to.  (Whitney J.)

  1. Reading Coronavirus & Christ (John Piper) and Trusting God (Jerry Bridges) (Caitlin B.)

  1. This is Us. The Pearson’s have really helped get me through this. (Sarah L.)

  1. I have been trying to pull out the silver lining in the pandemic that we have been faced with. Before this pandemic, I was really struggling with mom-guilt and feeling like we were so busy all the time that I wasn’t able to “soak in” all the precious time with my little girls. I was struggling with how to create a margin in my life for stillness because everything we were involved with were great things! School, dance, gym, small groups, play dates, etc. I knew Jesus was wanting me to slow down but I had no idea where to start. Well, flash forward to this pandemic where all of our scheduled events came to a screeching halt. I have finally (and no choice) but to slow down. (Taylor B.)

  1. Nature… whether it be repotting my indoor plants and getting my hands in dirt, ordering bouquets from local businesses, refilling and watching the bird feeder, sitting outside and coloring/deep breathing, or walking with my dogs. Being around fresh air has reminded me that this is all still here. Before the pandemic, I was too busy to really take it in. Now it’s part of my daily routine and helps me find a sense of calm. (Megan H.)

  1. Turning my brain off (TV) (Dana G.)

  1. Getting out of the house (safely!) (Katie P.)

  1. Regular contact with other adults. (Andrew J.)

  1. Being able to document my thoughts. (Katie B.)

  1. Audio books. (Gabri W.)

  1. Letting myself feel things w/o judging myself, letting myself be nurtured as needed. (Jaime W.)

  1. Balanced diet. (Donna D.)

  1. I have been planting lots of flowers. I have found that flowers don’t grow as fast as I would like so I keep planting more. (Lauren L.)

  1. Continuing to do the same tasks needed to maintain an ordered home (as much as possible, but not forcing myself to keep a particular standard) (Lois V.)

  1. Reframing negative thoughts. (Megan O.)

  1. Therapy. (Sydney M.)

  1. Honest Prayer. (Aaron H.)

  1. Trying new recipes. (Maddie B.)

  1. Keeping busy- cleaning, crafts, puzzles. (Tara P.)

  1. Taking one day at a time and trying to soak in the good things. (Sarah H.)

  1. Sewing masks to donate. (Johnna K.)

  1. Practicing grounding techniques and meditation. (Sally K.)

  1. Community group. (Morgan L.)

  1. Not getting completely caught up in the media and politics during this time. Not burying my head in the sand and pretending nothing is happening but strictly knowing the facts and not staying glued to the tv or my phone. (Jessica F.)

  1. Designing. (Jessica W.)

  1. My kid’s faces. (Mary Beth B.)

  1. Intentional communication. (Audrey G.)

  1. Making limits on how often we talk/complain about the pandemic and it’s affects. (Malory D.)

  1. Going through old home videos and pictures with my kids. (Annie R.)

  1. Painting. (Kina C.)

  1. Community support through online groups and friends. (Malissia H.)

  1. Eating…. cooking more, baking more, eating more. (Karen W.)

  1. Overly cleaning to mentally think I’m keeping my family safe. (Morgan B.)

  1. Projects outside. I’m pulling up and repairing rotten deck boards and power washing. It helps me get outside and occupy my brain. (Becca G.)

  1. Adapting the routine. But still having one. (Sally R.)

  1. See other humans besides my kids at least once a week. (Jesse D.)

  1. Meditation. (Melissa G.)

  1. Prayer & reminders of truth (usually a Psalm and listening to truth filled music). (Ashley S.)

  1. Honestly…having a really good cry when I’m feeling super overwhelmed. I don’t know why but it seems to relieve the pressure that has been building up inside. (Erin F.)

  1. Check in texts from friends. (Stacy J.)

  1. Playing video games with friends. (Andrew S.)

  1. Working full time at home while also having my toddler at home has its challenging times. Taking some quiet time for myself or going on a walk alone when my husband gets home definitely helps me decompress. (Laura T.)

  1. Prioritizing things (“do I have to do this now? No? Ok.”) (Paige P.)

  1. Trying new things (foods, crafts, beauty stuff). (Tara W.)

  1. Wine. (Sarah W.)

  1. Puzzles and games. (Jacki W.)

  1. Refocusing on scripture reading has also been very helpful during this time. (Stephen B.)

  1. Hiking. (Jenn L.)

  1. Audiobooks/ podcasts to distract me from the news! (Kayla C.)

  1. Making time to pick up lunch and do my bible study in a park. (Megan W.)

  1. Cranberry Gingerale! (Lol sorry but it is the truth) (Mary-Dawn C.)

  1. Time alone, reading or making art. (Tim M.)

  1. Creating something once a week whether it’s a quick drawing, home craft (made a dope twig wreath the other day), new recipe, or practice a new piano song. Keeps me feeling a sense of accomplishment and personal growth. (Hillary S.)

  1. Praying for family and friends that they will escape this virus. Praying for those who have it will recover and for families that lost loved ones for peace and comfort. (Dolly I.)

  1. Being able to enjoy my time this has given me another appreciation for my kids and the ability to be there for them. (Stephanie P.)

  1. My whirlpool bathtub. haha! when I’m having a moment or a bad day there is nothing that a nice hot bubble bath won’t help. (Sara B.)

  1. Yoga. (Donna V.)

  1. Baking (I know. It’s so cliche) but actually using yeast for the first time ever. (Anna P.)

  1. Video chatting with the guys some to help fill my socialite void lol. (Billy G.)

  1. Sleeping until I feel rested. (Sue B.)

  1. Give myself “nights off” (aka read or have a glass of wine or paint my nails type of things!) (Nikki R.)

  1. on-line poker with friends. (David P.)

  1. growing new things in my greenhouse. (Rena B.)

  1. Time for myself each day-even if it is just a quick, hot shower.  (Lindsey B.)

  1. Connecting with a long time friend and virtual fellowship times with my church congregation. (Jackie R.)

  1. Talking on phone with family. (Nancy D.)

  1. Grounding exercises. When my panic would flare up I would go to a quiet place in the house and list five things I could see, four things I could hear, three things I could touch, two things I could smell, and one thing I could taste. Repeat as often as necessary. (Katherine S.)

  1. Cat & Dog snugs. (Kat B.)

  1. Completing tasks and being productive, even if it’s small things around the house. (Valerie P.)

  1. Prioritizing and getting creative with alone-time away from kids & husband. (Brady C.)

  1. Dancing in my living room every weekend to my favorite artists live streams. (Lindsay R.)

  1. Creating a nice space to “get away” in our own backyard! It’s nice to be able to sit and relax with my husband at the end of the day. (Melissa S.)

  1. Exercise- usually I like “all out” very high adrenaline kind of exercising like spinning kickboxing etc but I’ve been finding that long walks and restorative mobility/flexibility work have felt really nurturing in this season. (Ashley W.)

  1. More quality time with my little one. (Keri H.)

  1. Lowering my expectations of a clean house. Let things go a bit more than my normal OCD self and enjoy the moment. (Kristi C.)

  1. Joining a gardening group online. I have met some interesting people all around the world. (Felicea W.)

  1. Healthy foods/essential oils/supplements. (Annette S.)

  1. FaceTiming our grandchildren. (Linda W.)

  1. trying new things, if I see something on the internet i’ve always wanted to try, I do it then and there. (Whitney T.)

  1. Finding ways to brighten someone else’s day. (Darlene O.)

  1. Therapy/medication management. (Heather S.)

  1. Shopping online. (Jordan K.)

  1. Animal Crossing. (Ashley K.)

  1. Movement – Dancing, yoga, walking my dog. (Tricia H.)

  1. My art – I’ve been painting for I think six or seven years now and I honestly don’t remember what I did with my downtime before then. Now it’s my fulltime gig and it helps maintain my sanity on a daily basis (with or w/out a lockdown). My paintings are essentially visual jokes and I’m perfectly happy laughing at my own jokes. Again, I’m very lucky to have what I have and part of what I have is a weird sense of humor that translates to canvas every day. I’m never really bored. (Brian C.)

  1. Being creative & designing graphics. (Ally W.)

  1. Family. (Ben H.)

  1. Our new fur baby Know. (Courtney S.)

  1. Journaling about feelings. (Kelli H.)

  1. Being around children (gf’s nephews) seeing their smile and laughter. (Lauren C.)

  1. Physical touch. From my partner: high-fives or hugs. Anything that says “human skin and pressure”. ***The 5 self holds also REALLY help me during my anxiety attacks and meditation*** life changing when I started practicing them. (Megan H.)

  1. Community. I’m generally not a super social person-but the fact that technology has allowed me to continue to engage in community has been a saving grace for me during a time of physical isolation. I have been able to catch up with classmates that I hadn’t talked to in a decade, joined online small groups and met people that I likely would have never met in person, and even my little girl has been able to maintain a small sense of normalcy with her zoom dance class.  (Taylor B.)

  1. Playing music and singing. (Samantha L.)

“We are in this together!”  

 I hope by reading through this you feel a little less alone.  I am standing in solidarity with you, friend.  Cheers to us remembering the lessons we are  learning through this experience!

Let me know if you have something to add!

1 Comment

  1. Cindy Holman May 29, 2020

    I loved reading everyone’s ideas!

    Reply

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