by Teresia Smith
Remember the “good old days”? You know, before Covid life became our new normal. Back when we were just living day-to-day in a sort of routine. We rose each morning and got the family ready for the day, dropping kids at school, spending our days at work and returning home to figure out what was for supper that night. Somewhere in the midst of it all, we found time to join a club, go to the gym with our workout buddies, and snuggle up for a movie with family or maybe even a game night with friends. They were ordinary days. We felt like we had a sort of balance and structure to our life. Then, Covid.
As we have almost a year of Covid life under our belt, we must fight against Covid fatigue and the stress of a long term battle. We cannot allow this time of uncertainty to steal our positive outlook. Lysa TerKeurst says it best: “When circumstances of life leak us dry, we can see this emptiness as an opportunity. Instead of reacting out of emptiness, we can choose to see that this emptiness is the perfect spot for a space of grace in life.”
Your outlook impacts your outcome. Instead of only seeing broken routines, frustration and sickness, maybe we can see new opportunities and blessings. Every day is a gift and while we may not always feel like celebrating each day, choosing to have a positive outlook can help us have a positive impact.
Having limited in-person interactions has forced us to find new ways to communicate. Where our in-person services may have only reached a small radius, now using methods such as Zoom, our world has become even smaller and we can reach across the globe.
E-learning and limited days in school have given us time and opportunities to teach our kids things they won’t learn in school. Kids are being exposed to baking, cooking, building, gardening and many other skills that have been on the verge of disappearing. Having less activities has allowed our kids to relax more and enjoy down time.
Being forced to be at our houses more has given us a new appreciation for the retreat we build in our home. Many took this time to work on remodeling projects and making their home as pleasant as possible. Turning something that could be a stressor into an enjoyable moment is a choice we can all make.
Do you find yourself or a loved one experiencing angry outbursts? Or anxiety or sleep pattern changes? Possibly, fatigue, chest pains, worry, or headache? What about social withdrawal? These are some common effects of stress and can take a toll on you quickly.
One way to combat stress is to make opportunities for you to relax and focus on good things. One of the best ways to do that is to connect with others. You should call, email, or text friends frequently. Use online video chat to connect with your loved ones. More than likely, they need the connection too. Aim for at least one meaningful conversation every day. There are many apps available to make this connection easy and fun. There are even apps that allow you to play virtual games with friends. If you aren’t into electronics, send a card or handwritten letter to someone. It’s a great feeling to receive a card or note from someone.
This social distancing is a new experience for all of us. We are social creatures and staying connected allows you to share your feelings, which in turn, relieves stress. Don’t hide away in your home and isolate yourself. Reach out and maintain your relationships to give and get support.
No matter the source of stress in your life, there are healthy ways of dealing with it that can be beneficial. Though we may not be in our offices in the traditional way, we are still continuing to provide our services. Crisis Services of North Alabama provides free, confidential services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. To reach us, you may call our office at 256.574.5826. We also offer a free 24/7 HELPline if you just need to talk to someone at 256.716.1000. Remember, you are not alone.