(An Almost) Two Year Check-In

Since the pandemic started, we have all feared getting the COVID-19 virus. When lockdowns happened, we were sanctioned to our houses and told to keep our social distance. Masks soon started to live on our faces and we had to learn how to cope with the new reality of the world. The new year is coming fast and the two-year mark of the pandemic will be upon us. If you had COVID, know someone who had COVID, or currently have it, I’m sending you all of my support and well wishes.

Take a moment to self-reflect on the time that has passed. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who was I before the pandemic? Do I remember what life was like before all of this craziness?

  • What was I like during the breakout of the pandemic? How did I act when it first started?

  • With almost 2 years since the World Health Organization officially stated that we were in a pandemic, how have I changed? Who am I today?

Mourning the Past, Embracing the Present, and Looking Forward

I’m sure we all have thought to ourselves, “I wish I could turn back the clock.” We miss the times where we could have fun with our friends and not worry about easily catching a dangerous virus. We miss days where we saw the bottom of people’s faces at work and didn’t have to relearn how to make small talk by the water cooler. 

If you lost someone to COVID-19, you needed time to grieve and heal. My thoughts and support go out to you and any loved ones of this person. You also may be rebuilding your life after losing a job and income to support yourself/your family. The pandemic took so many jobs away from people; this made everyone reimagine and replan the steps they would take next in life. 

Ultimately, you may be grieving the person you were before 2020. A worldwide pandemic can change you in so many ways. I know I certainly am not the same person I was before COVID-19 spread all over. For a while, I was sad over all the missed opportunities and experiences in life. I want people to know that it is ok to feel sad over what has taken place in the past year. COVID-19 may have taken so much from you, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I hope you know how valid your feelings are and that it is part of healing and growth to embrace these emotions. 

So feel what you need to feel. Take time to reflect and nurture yourself in areas of your life that need the support. Eventually, when you are ready, look forward to the future. You don’t even realize how strong and resilient you are. Be proud of yourself for all you have overcome and who you are today. Life before the pandemic cannot magically turn back, but we all continue  moving forward as the world spins each day. You are capable of so much!

Living with the Reality of COVID in 2021

COVID-19 is still with us and there are people who are getting sick each day. If you have COVID right now, I hope that this blog gives you some useful tips on how to cope when you are by yourself. 

First, Take Time to Rest

One really important way to cope while being positive for COVID is to rest. Your body may be experiencing symptoms of the virus that make you feel very worn out and defeated. You are probably coughing, sneezing, and potentially crying a lot during this time. Please prioritize resting and taking time to heal your body.

You may be someone who finds it really hard to step away from their work and obligations. Now that you have to isolate yourself, you may feel upset because your work is being affected. At the end of the day, you need to do what’s best for you, your physical, and mental well-being. As much as work obligations are important, none of these contain more value in this world than YOU do. Take time to detach from the world, and focus on what you need to do at the moment – which is to take care of yourself.

Second, Reach out to Social Support

In this time, you can really benefit from leaning on social support. When you are diagnosed with the virus, many people find themselves isolated and not seeing people for weeks after.  When you’re feeling low, try reaching out to people in your circle who make you happy. You may be feeling discouraged or upset ever since your diagnosis. People with good energy, high hopes, and encouragement can help sooth your worries. Call or video chat with them!

Third, Work on Hobbies

Over this pandemic, it felt like a boom of new hobbies hit all the people you knew. People were suddenly exploring new skills, creating, and even starting their own businesses. Isolation and social distancing helped people find new passion projects. Take this time to try new things! If you already have a hobby you love doing, work on fine-tuning that craft and enhancing your abilities.

Fourth, Read, Read, Read!

I firmly believe that books open doors to other worlds! You can read about characters doing anything you like in any world/any timeline you wish to read about. 

Especially during the pandemic, I have found that reading helped me escape. I can take a break from all the uncertainty in the world through the pages of my book. I am thankful for all the amazing books and authors that fill their readers’ lives with more creativity and fun. 

While you are home, take time to pick up a book and dive in! Explore new genres or authors, as well! 

Fifth, Journal

Journaling helps people explore their thoughts and feelings through writing. If you love to write, like me, you find such comfort in your journal pages. Journal prompts allow you to reflect on yourself, your life, and any inner thoughts you may not have recognized before.

Here are some journal prompts to use at this time:

  • How am I feeling?

  • What emotions are consistent throughout my days?

  • Who makes me happy? What are ways I can reach out to them?

  • What activities help me cheer up? List 3 of them in detail. 

  • Imagine a perfect day. Write about what you would do.

  • Who is my greatest inspiration and why?

Journaling, especially if you are sick with the virus, can help you document what you are going through. In times when you feel down about yourself or sad, you can look back on these pages and see what resiliency you have. You can get through anything! 

Overall…

The world has collectively been through so much since the pandemic broke. Remember to take your time and go at your own pace. The same way that the world needs time to rebuild in many ways, you do too. Don’t listen to people who minimize your feelings or invalidate your emotions. It is more than OK and normal to still be getting your life back in order. Honor your journey and know that it is unraveling in your own perfect timing. 

Keep going and be proud of yourself, always!

Jackie Caputo, LMFT in Woodland Hills, CA | Therapy for Anxiety and Depression in Woodland Hills

About the Author

Jackie Caputo is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who provides therapy in Woodland Hills, CA. She also provides online therapy to individuals throughout the state of California.