3 M’s for Coping During COVID-19
Humans have always been social beings and crave interactions. At a time where a global pandemic has affected us all, social distancing can take time to adjust to, and we may feel both our physical and mental health take a hit as we establish our new routines. This is especially true for elderly people or those living alone.
Research shows that practicing the 3 Ms in times like these can help: Mindfulness, Movement, and Meaningful Connection.
We know what precautionary measures to take to stay safe and healthy: wash your hands, wear a mask, practice physical distancing and stay home. But what about mentally and emotionally? This pandemic has caused us to feel fear, anger, stress and a whole roller coaster of emotions. Now more than ever, our mindsets are important. Not only do they affect us, but those around us too. It’s easy to default to negative thoughts, especially if you watch the news; it’s downright terrifying. However, for that exact reason, it’s important to be aware of our thoughts, to keep a positive mindset and try to maintain a sense of hope. If you must watch the news, look for positive stories about people who have recovered from #COVID-19 rather than focusing too much attention on the unfortunate scenarios that are constantly discussed on the news. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to add to a positive mindset. Meditation or prayer helps calm the mind. Journaling is a great way of expressing thoughts and feelings. Give yourself time to notice, recognize and express what you are feeling or thinking. Whatever they may be, get them on paper.
Gratitude is another great way to be mindful. What good has come from being home? Did you save time commuting? More time with family? For me, it’s spending time with my daughter, exercising and eating healthier. Being grateful is an easy way to help focus on the positive.
Movement is vital to physical and mental health, and even more so in times like these. While it is a lot easier and more comfortable to binge watch Netflix or become a workaholic when in lock-down, finding ways to stay active is essential to keeping our immune systems strong. If you are sitting in front of a computer, aim for a short break every 30 minutes to do some yin yoga seated stretches if you aren’t able to take a full hour. Do a bit of stretching especially for your neck and shoulders. There is a plethora of free classes online. The idea is to move your body and your mind will thank you.
Being human means being social with a need to be connected to those around us. Now we are being pushed into physical distancing and isolation, and this may push us into depression, anxiety and loneliness. While it is a reality that we must remain at a social distance, it doesn’t mean that have to be socially distant. Thanks to technology, social and virtual media, we are more connected than ever. It’s easy to stay connected to people you know such friends and family. This is the time to catch up with those who you haven’t had a chance to properly catch up with for some time. Some other ways to reach out is to check on elderly neighbors; call someone you know is alone, or as a friend did, leave flowers on doorsteps for people you appreciate in your neighborhood.
The 3 M’s are always recommended but especially during times of crisis, they will help us cope and strengthen our resilience. Remember that this situation is only temporary, and this too, shall pass.