It’s been a tough year. We are almost to the exact one-year mark of our first COVID shutdown. I remember how scared I was. I’m happy to report I am no longer so scared but I do have a deep sense of unease over how all of this is playing out. Why am I feeling so anxious? Vaccines are rolling out so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Well, my nervous system is jacked up from the past year because I still carry it around with me and we are still in the situation. In case I forget for a moment, the news is happily there to remind me of the doom and gloom all around us. Turns out I am an ON person and when I carry stress, I tend to be a reactive person. Others act the opposite and perhaps shut down when they get overwhelmed. Either way, being in the moment can help to calm our systems down and help us regulate. Notice where you are and how your body feels. Notice your feet on the ground or your tush in the seat. Ground yourself and breathe. Ask yourself what you need and then see if you can provide it. Get out in nature. We have many internal resources to help us calm our nervous systems. In case we need more, consider who you can call on. Do you have trusted support people in your life? Can you call someone and tell them your concerns and be listened to? It’s ok to need an expert as well. Sometimes we just need a helping hand to get through the difficult times. First thing though, is we need to know how we are feeling. We need to notice if we are dysregulated. Once we realize we are we can put the tools we have to use.
We aren’t in the clear yet. Wash those hands, wear your mask and double them up if you’re concerned and keep social distancing. We are almost there, almost to the point where we can socialize freely. Hang in there until it’s safe. In the meantime, keep taking care of yourself.
Lynn O’Hara, MS, RD, LPC, Licensed Psychotherapist and Registered Dietitian