For nearly an entire year, the coronavirus has been heightening tension and fear around the country. This can be particularly difficult for seniors who are not only more susceptible to the disease but may also be more likely to experience mood changes and have feelings of isolation.
Keep in mind the following recommendations that can help you (or a senior in your care) feel calmer and better prepared for the final sprint before the finish line.
Create a strong routine
Having structure in your personal day is important – particularly when there are still so many unknowns regarding the virus and vaccines. This has the ability to do wonders when it comes to alleviating anxiety and staying positive.
Try to build in relaxing activities at the beginning and end of every day, such as taking time to journal or meditate. There are a bunch of good, free resources and exercises online that can help you get started if some of these activities are new to you. It is also important to limit the amount of news that you are consuming (especially before going to sleep), which can quickly start to do more harm than good.
Strengthen social bonds
Having a strong support structure is key. In the age of social distancing, maintaining a rich and active social life can be difficult. Luckily, there are tons of free apps and programs that can easily connect you face-to-face to family and friends. Schedule regular check-ins as well as book club discussions or game nights.
My family takes turns coming up with discussion topics every week, to help keep the conversation fresh and interesting. This was our most recent discussion: If you were a scientist with all of the resources in the world and no restrictions, what would you research?
This will look different to every person, so think about what can personally help you relax and stay positive. For some, it could be a hot bath at the end of the day. Others might get a lot of benefit from joining a support group that meets once a week. Beyond that, a healthy diet and sleep schedule can make a big difference in your overall mood and mental health.
This is an anxiety-ridden time for most of us – but the end is in sight. Establishing a routine, cultivating social relationships, and focusing on personal care can help you stay in the present moment, and avoid thinking about all of the overwhelming things that you have no control over.