If you feel like you are still in an uphill battle to stay quarantined and are finding working from home to be even more difficult than before, you are not alone. While logic says that if you’ve been quarantined since March we should be used to this “new normal,” life just isn’t working like that. You aren’t just working from home — you’re working from home during a pandemic. Being in a pandemic takes extra mental energy in itself. You may have kids that are going to be starting the fall semester with online classes. And you know how well that went last semester. If you are feeling a surge of depression and anxiety, you are not alone.
It appears there has been a “second wave” of anxiety and depression during the Covid-19 pandemic. Read further to find out how you can best take care of yourself when the pandemic seems never-ending.
Go Easy on Yourself
It’s completely normal to feel like you haven’t adjusted yet to working from home full-time. Everyone is making things up as they go along. There are going to be things about teleconferences that you don’t like, just as you didn’t like things about in-person meetings. There are always going to be issues either way — just different issues. You may be in a living situation where everyone has been home all the time. Give yourself time to feel how you feel. The more you try to “stuff down” feelings of sadness or anxiety, the more they tend to crop up. Most mental health professionals are doing teletherapy appointments, so give one a call to help you talk out your concerns. Knowing you need some additional help is a strength, not a weakness.
Go Easy On Your Loved Ones
This has been a big adjustment for everyone. At this point, your family probably knows each other’s “hot buttons” so well that they could write a book on it. Your kids are crabby, your spouse is over it...and you feel like you need to hold it together for everyone. Keep in mind that your family’s behavior isn’t personal — it’s a side effect of having things feel very out of control. Give them some latitude. At the same time, it might be a good idea to restate the boundaries at home — no name-calling, yelling, etc.
It’s Okay to Feel Angry
It appears there has been a “second wave” of anxiety and depression during the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting the school year again with restrictions in place is not what we had envisioned for our kids. It is also a signal to us about how much time has passed since you started quarantining. It’s completely normal to be angry about not having enough health safety at this point to have kids go back to school. It is completely normal to be angry about not being able to visit your parents or other members of your family in-person because of the possible risk of infection.
It’s Okay To Cut Back On Your Workload
You should not be expected to produce as much as you would pre-Covid-19. It’s just not possible. Your kids are home full-time, they have school online, they aren’t able to see their friends in person, and they are bored. It’s natural that their wellbeing is going to take up a bigger portion of your time than in the “beforetime.” It’s okay to tell your employer or your board that it is just not possible for you to complete a project or assignment at this time. You are not alone. Many people have had frank discussions with their companies about not being able to withstand the same amount of assignments they had pre-pandemic. You have the right to do less than what is humanly possible.
Time Distortion is Normal
One of the events that may have triggered a second wave of anxiety and depression is that going back to school made us realize how much time has passed since we started quarantining or restrictions were put in place. When quarantined, days and weeks tend to run together, especially when we are missing experiences that helped us mark time, like an in-person birthday party or school orientation. It is normal for you to not be aware of what day it is, and for you to feel that time is going too fast and too slow simultaneously. Schedule video calls and other events on specific days to give you a sense of structure and a normal passing of time.
Look For The Good
While we usually hear about what is not going well (and it seems there is plenty of that to go around), make an effort to look for the positives. You may find that your family has gotten along pretty well over the past six months. It may be that you enjoy no longer having a commute to the office. Write down what has gone well for you and your family. If you are experiencing a rough patch where it seems nothing is getting better, reread your list.
Remember This Will End Eventually
In the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, you may have heard “this is temporary,” and held fast to that concept as a way to get you through the early stages of quarantine. But now we are in August and are still quarantining. It may seem like the pandemic will never end. But logic says eventually it will. We may have a “new normal,” a phrase you are probably used to hearing by now. But the crisis will eventually pass. Just not on our preferred timetable.