As this pandemic drags on, I’m finding it more challenging to keep my mental wellbeing on track. How are you doing…really? It’s easy to get hooked by the news or newest case numbers and it takes me time to re-focus on the things that are within my control.

I’m luckier than many people as I’ve been able to pivot and make a living, online. I’m grateful that I’m not a frontline worker or a person who needs to work with the public every day. My capable daughter is on the frontline and she handles it with grace. My respect and love go out to each and every frontline worker and the family members who worry about them.

The threat of COVID and our intermittent lockdowns have challenged most of our coping abilities. We need to add a few things to our tool chest to keep going. I would like to share a few ideas that have helped me.

Some people are bored out of their minds while others are thriving. Helping others (neighbours, friends or volunteer work) and remaining curious seem to be the deciding factors. Are you curious about what’s possible or angry about what is happening? What can you influence? I’ve searched for ways to contribute to others during the lockdowns. I’ve circulated my Mountain of Ideas booklet to support people caring for our children. Let me know if you would like a copy of it? It’s filled with ideas to keep children under six busy. I’ve also prepared and dropped off craft packs and science experiments to children I barely know in the neighbourhood. It’s made me a star in the eyes of both the children and their parents!

I’m having trouble sleeping and I’ve renewed my pledge to myself to get 10k steps into each day. It helps me burn a few calories and I sleep a little better with more exercise. If I can’t stay asleep in the morning, I lie there and focus on my breath. Breathing in love and breathing out fear and uncertainty. It prepares me to face my busy day. Each of these things are helping me to better cope. I call friends as often as possible, especially friends who live alone.

I’m eating more treats than usual and have gained some COVID weight. I’ve started turning this trend around. I’ve come up with a satisfying snack that has just a few calories. I cut up two stalks of celery into bite sized pieces, rinse and then soak them in water for a few minutes. They have a satisfying crunch and satiate me as an afternoon (recess) snack.

Consider creating a worry book. I park any thoughts that are recurring or bothersome in my worry book. I make a date in the future when I will return to worry about those things. It helps me let go of those negative thoughts that I can’t do a thing about. It also gives me more time to focus on what I want to grow.

I created a new Vision Board last weekend and focused only on things that I could do during lockdown. I cut up old magazines for images and words I liked. I felt elated after I was done! There were more things than I realized that I could do during this time. I can write. I can re-think and re-imagine things. The words “Finding Gratitude” are in the center. What’s within my control that I want to change? I can plan for my future travel and read books about those places or novels set in the places I want to visit.

If you feel you need a little more support, call to arrange a free Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) screening appointment. It’s a common form of evidence-based psychotherapy. It is practical, structured and short-term. It focuses on the thoughts, emotions and behaviours that can be problematic in your daily living. You learn life-long skills and strategies that you can use to master and manage your own life. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Link over to Emery Keelesdale Nurse Practitioner Clinic to arrange an appointment, if this sounds like it would be useful for you. It’s covered by OHIP.

Please let me know what you’re doing to help you get through this difficult time and I’ll share it with our community.

Take good care of yourself and each other? Our community continues during lockdown. We look forward to seeing you at an online event and can hardly wait to see you at our in person events once we are meeting at Mustard Seed again.

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