Coping With COVID and MIDLIFE - 5 Things NOT to DO!
With COVID-19 came a plethora of new circumstances and scenarios that we have never faced in our world. We were introduced to the concepts of “social distancing,” and life behind the mask. With COVID comes added stress, confusion, questions, uncertainty, depression, anxiety, and mental madness. Add these to your MidLife questions and concerns and the overwhelm is significant. How do you manage your stress? How do you handle uncertainty? How do you process all that is going on in our world? There is plenty to deal with without adding more. How you handle the current circumstances can remove stress or it can add to your stress.
The following are 5 sure ways to add to your COVID/MidLife stress:
1. Eat your way out of your emotions
No! More food will not solve your problems. Ben and Jerry are not approved mental health specialists. Emotional eating simply adds to the problem. If you are already stressed add in the stress found in diabetes, heart issues, and other poor health related emotions and you have a recipe for a cycle of disaster. When your first impulse is to open the refrigerator whenever you are stressed, upset, angry, lonely, exhausted, or bored - you get stuck in an unhealthy cycle where the real feeling or problem is never addressed.
Use COVID as a motivation for nutritional health. Be intentional about your health. Recognize the difference between emotional “hunger” and physical “hunger.” Growth begins with awareness. Becoming aware of the “hunger” you are trying to satisfy is the first step in breaking emotional eating. Be intentional about a structured nutrition plan. If you don’t have one we can help you with that. A structured plan enables you to have boundaries and establish some healthy habits.
2. Drink your problems away
NO! More alcohol will not solve your problem. Burying your midlife and COVID-19 thoughts and feelings in more “Corona” will not "find you your beach.” It will simply dull the pain for a moment but at some point, you will still have to deal with the circumstances. Unfortunately for too many, the increase in alcohol is adding additional relational, emotional, and financial circumstances to the pile. NO! Alcohol will not protect you from the virus nor kill the virus. At a time when clarity is key, alcohol simply impairs the thinking process and bad decisions are made. Like food, buffering with alcohol, or avoiding, simply buries the emotions and issues until later at which time they still must be addressed. Unfortunately, by this time they may be piling up.
Use COVID as a motivation for physical health. Exercise clears the mind and aids in the thinking process. It releases chemicals in our bodies that not only give us strength but clarity. Be intentional about getting extra exercise during this time. Go for walks or runs. Use elastic resistance bands and get fit. Be intentional about developing routines and habits that will keep your immune system up, your mind clear and your physical body strong. The emotional wellbeing that comes from fitness is far better than the hangover that spirals you into more emotional muck.
3. Fixate on the news and negativity
NO! Hearing it again isn’t going to change its reality or make it somehow true or false. Trying to figure out who is right and what the truth is in the midst of the plethora of opinions isn’t serving you well. We are not saying don’t be aware of the requirements in your area and what is going on in the world. We are saying don’t “FIXATE” on the news and all the negative gloom and doom that is being spread.
Be aware and move on. Flood your life with positivity. Be intentional about finding the positive in our world. There is plenty of it. Where your focus goes your energy flows (Tony Robbins). Fixate on the negative news and you will flood your emotions with negative and the only possible outcome will be negative. Pour your energy into the positive and you will reap positive results.
4. Get stuck in the social media muck
NO! More social media will not produce the answers to your problems. Social media has become another form of buffering like food, drugs and alcohol. It is a form of avoidance. People escape in the depths of social media trying to get lost and away from their problems for a while. Scrolling for hours (or mindlessly bingeing Netflix) doesn’t make COVID questions, concerns, fears, and uncertainty disappear. Like with food and alcohol, the problems and emotions are simply buried for a bit. But they will resurface, trust me, and when they do you will still have to deal with them.
Spend some time engaging your thoughts. Try journaling, prayer, meditation, and yoga. Intentionally set some time aside each day to engage your mind and process your thinking. We have a tool we use in coaching that helps you process your thoughts and feelings to keep your mind sharp and clear. Be intentional with a daily routine of mindfulness and awareness.
5. Surround yourself with negative people and content
NO! More negative, toxic people will not solve your problems. If you are feeling negative, scared, depressed, uncertain, then surrounding yourself with negative, scared, depressed, uncertain people will not help you to be certain, confident, and positive. There is a tendency when we are going through emotional stuff to find people who will say what we want to hear and jump on our bandwagon.
If you find yourself surrounded by a lot of negative people speaking into your life, be bold, and take action. Intentionally “social distance” yourself from the negative and surround yourself with positive people. Intentionally look for positive people and invite them to speak into your life. If you are struggling to find the positive people, explore podcasts and look for authors as a place to start. Make it an intentional practice to listen to positive podcasts or read positive books and fill your mind and life with positivity. Intentionally read the promises of the Bible or listen to your favorite preachers.
It is time to get off the CORONACOASTER!!
If you are tired of this ride, the ups and downs and all the twists and turns, let me encourage you to be mindful of the methods you are employing and to take intentional actions to slow the ride.
Done right and with some coaching, in fact, there are many opportunities that can be found. This ride can turn out to be fun, exciting, and filled with possibility when we approach it with the right mindset.