The beginning of 2020 has thrown most of us for a loop. I’m not going to exhaust you with the same tired platitudes that keep showing up in news articles around the world. Yes, we’re living in trying, uncertain, unprecedented times — and we’re all tired of hearing about it. I’m seriously tempted to toss all three of those words out of my vocabulary.
I get it. The world is scary right now. We’re living through a global pandemic, a civil rights movement, a depression, a dust bowl, and basically all the negative things that happened in the 1920s — all at once!
We shouldn’t be focusing on the negativity in the world. Instead, we should be focusing on lifting each other up. What can you do to lift up your loved ones during these times of turmoil?
Encourage and Support Self-Care
Self-care has become an internet buzzword, especially in response to the world we live in today. Self-care looks different for everyone. For one person, it might look like a five-mile run and a hot yoga session. For the next, it might look like a pint of ice cream and a two-day long Netflix binge. The goal of self-care is to find the things that relax you and recharge your batteries.
If you’ve got loved ones who are having trouble relaxing, consider what you can do to support their own self-care. What do they do to relax when no one else is around? It might take a little bit of coaxing and cajoling to find out the answer to that question, but once you do, make it a point to encourage them to spend a little bit of time on self-care.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we interact. In public, we have to keep at least six feet of distance between us, and we’ve spent months without visiting friends, family or anyone outside of our immediate household. It’s important to keep us safe, but human beings are social creatures, and they’re not meant to be isolated for long periods of time.
Thankfully, we live in the internet age and staying connected is as easy as picking up a phone or opening a laptop. Google Hangouts, Zoom, Discord and dozens of other programs can help us see and talk to our friends and coworkers. Make it point to stay connected with everyone who isn’t inside your bubble. We need support from each other more than ever, even if we can’t see each other in person.
Know Your Limits and Enforce Boundaries
There is so much going on right now, and you may find yourself feeling pressured to get involved in everything. You may also find yourself feeling guilty if you don’t have the spoons to march in a protest or volunteer at soup kitchen or even work during these stressful times. One of the hardest things to learn in times like these is to find your limits, set boundaries and enforce them.
This is a skill that you can teach to your loved ones as well. Teach them how to find their own limits and how to set their own boundaries. Encourage them to say no as often as necessary to preserve their own physical and mental health. We spend so much time wrapped up in everyone else’s drama that it can be hard to remember how to take care of ourselves.
Spend Time on Hobbies Together
What are your favorite hobbies? What hobbies do your loved ones enjoy? If they mesh — or even if they don’t — spend some time on your hobbies together. Researchers found that having a hobby is beneficial for your mental health. Find something that you enjoy — knitting, crocheting, weaving chainmail armor, gardening, reading, writing, whatever makes you happy, and practice it whenever you have some spare time.
If you’re worried about things like the coronavirus, set up a webcam and enjoy your hobbies with your friends in a virtual chat. You may even find that you’re interested in their hobbies and vice-versa, giving you new ways to spend your time and new ways to bond with your friends and loved ones while you’re trying to lift them up.
Lift Each Other Up — We’ll Get Through This
It’s easy to fall into the pit of despair, feeling like we’re never going to get through this. The world might be going mad and things look bleak, but if we take the time to lift each other up, we’ll make it through all of this madness. Be safe, as we learn to navigate this new normal, and do whatever you can to lift up the people you love and those that cross your path.
Also, let’s agree to strike “new normal” form our vocabularies as well. Things might look dark but we don’t have to accept them. We just need to stay hopeful, lift each other up, and we’ll come out on the other side of this with the world a little bit brighter than it is today.
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, freelance writer, and blogger at Mindfulness Mama. She enjoys yoga day, red wine, and drinking all of the tea she can find. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.
Image courtesy of vivek kumar.