Less energy, not sleeping well, daily tasks feel harder and taking longer. Feeling like life is heavy. These are widespread feelings expressed by so many people these days. Recently, I heard these called the “COVID blues.”
What can we do to combat the COVID blues?
• Count your blessings! We can positively impact our mood by listing things for which we are grateful. Do you like to journal? If so, write down what you are grateful for.
Can you list 10 different things each day? Make a mental note of five things you are looking forward to during the day before your feet even hit the floor. Even if you are simply looking forward to a good cup of coffee, if it makes you remember your joy, it counts.
Do you find it hard to go to sleep? If so, review the high points of your day as you prepare for bed.
• Exercise. The simple act of moving your body releases feel-good chemicals in your brain. If you can, get outside for a short walk. The sound of the cicadas and the feel of the breeze can be additional mood boosters.
There are also wonderful yoga, Zumba and other exercise classes you can follow along with on YouTube. Get your body moving. The connection between our mind and our body is a strong one.
• Try something new. Read a good book, try a crossword puzzle, cook a new recipe, pull out that old instrument and see what you remember. Trying something new forces you to focus on the task at hand. Your brain won’t be able to focus on the new task and worry at the same time.
• Get creative. Try painting a picture, pick up that old knitting project, color in an adult coloring book, pick up interesting nature items on your walk and arrange them into designs, build a fairy house for a neighbor to find. There are infinite possibilities.
• Listen to good music. Music can lift your spirits, bring back memories and help you to relax. I enjoy the Christmas music I grew up listening to and no matter the temperature outside, if I’m feeling blue, it helps to lift my spirits.
• Look forward to something. The current situation will not last forever. Dream about a future vacation. Look forward to a pumpkin spice treat. Schedule a phone conversation with a far away friend. Find something you are looking forward to and let yourself get excited.
• Do something nice for someone. Purchase food for a neighbor, sew a mask and give it away, send a card, bake cookies to share, etc. Making another person’s day brighter will often brighten your day as well. It’s also a great way to live the gospel message.
• Pray. Remember that Jesus is alive. The message of Easter hope is for every moment of every day. You are never alone. Find time to be quiet with God and let the Holy Spirit offer you peace.
The COVID blues are not the same thing as being depressed. If you find yourself unable to get out of bed or function throughout your day, if you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, contact a professional. Your doctor is a great place to start.