It only takes a quick Google search to uncover the latest case reports of COVID-19 in your state. It can be incredibly distressing and I don’t advise any of you to update yourselves daily, but if you are considering undermining the severity of this pandemic once more, check again.
Medical experts have predicted a second wave of COVID-19 for months as we approach the winter months. Considering the United States prides itself on being the dumbest country in 2020, and would rather rank first in the leading number of COVID cases, here we are. Many states are predicting another quarantine lockdown for everyone to flatten the curve once more. With winter approaching and daylight savings ending, mixed with seasonal depression and the general angst and stress surrounding this pandemic, this second wave could affect us all more emotionally and mentally than ever before.
Now the U.S. has been pretty divided, and it would be insensitive for me to overlook the harsh realities this pandemic has caused. Many Americans have been able to maintain their jobs and transition smoothly to remote work. Others have dealt with reduced hours, furloughs or full layoffs. Some people rely on in-person work, or are immunocompromised and cannot risk outdoor engagement. Everyone survives off varying annual wages and costs of living, residing in single, multigenerational or multi-family households. Some people spent this entire pandemic alone while others welcomed their grown children back for good measure. Things have been tough for everyone, but I empathize with those who struggled to put food on the table, or afford basic essentials.
This posting can benefit some people more than others, but there is at least one tip that everyone can incorporate into their lives this upcoming winter.
- Maintain your routine. During the winter months, it’s important to soak up as much sunshine as possible during the daytime before it turns pitch black at 4 PM. Sunshine exudes vitamin D which boosts our moods. Plus, establishing and maintaining a routine can help you remain productive and purposeful.
- Move your body. Exercise allows your body to release endorphins, chemicals that stimulate your brain. It triggers positive energy to boost your mood, and an accelerated heart rate pushes oxygen to the brain. Plus, everyone should exercise at least 30 minutes today to stay healthy.
- Stock up. I would like to stress the importance of gradually stocking up on the essential household items such as disinfectant materials, reusable masks and filters, paper towels, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc. Don’t visit a store and hoard the entire aisle, please! Instead, consider purchasing an item or two to stash. We know how people respond in a time of crisis!
- Light it up. This next tip is very specific towards those who suffer from seasonal depression but if you reside in a region of the world that experience daylight for like, 5 hours a day, or if you live in a windowless space, consider mechanical alternatives such as a dawn simulator or light therapy boxes. Dawn simulators in particular are alarm clocks that increase in brightness rather than blast an alarm to wake you up in the morning!
- Bro, everyone needs a therapist. I once read a comment from a professor on Instagram that read, “You don’t go through 20+ years unscathed; everyone should have a therapist.” I agree! Even if you don’t recognize a need right now, it never hurts to release pent up emotions bi-weekly, bi-monthy or bi-annually. Take a chance and consider emoting with a certified professional. I am also aware that not everyone can afford the luxury of a therapist provided through insurance, but there are more affordable alternatives such as BetterHelp, Talk Space, etc.
- Redecorate your space. Revamp your remote working space, just in case it wasn’t properly established before! For the rest of your living space, it can also be more enticing for you to embrace and lockdown during the winter if you’re prepared for it. Pull out your cozy blankets, buy some candles or warm fairy lights, and transition for the season!
- Prioritize your life now. Our restrictions loosen up a bit during the summer because in some states, case numbers decreased and many activities could be held outdoors. In the winter, we can kiss those luxuries goodbye. It’s time to reel back and reassess your situation once more. If you plan on moving, consider planning a move sooner rather than later. If you visited a hairdresser or nail salon and asked for something overly high maintenance, consider simplifying. We have prepared as those we will have a lockdown similar to what we experienced in March and April (as a worst case scenario). Prioritize your dentist, doctor and other medical appointments. Strategize bi-weekly, tri-weekly or monthly grocery trips over weekly ones. Begin planning who you would quarantine with within your social hub.
- Aromatherapy. Now there isn’t extensive research on any legitimate benefits to aromatherapy, but many have reported reduced feelings of anxiety and depression, and improved sleep. This can be done in the form of a diffuser, candles, room sprays or if you are feeling real indulgent, bath bombs or Epsom salts.
- Keep in touch. Reconnect with old co-workers, colleagues, neighbors and peers through Instagram or other messaging platforms. Schedule Zoom “happy hours” or dinner parties. Check in on all your closest friends and family because during this secondary wave of shut downs, I wouldn’t be surprised to uncover how many of us are just burnt out from it all. Prevent yourself from steeping into a black hole of loneliness, and schedule those virtual engagements with your social circle.
- Remember, you’ve done this before! The exception is that you are more prepared, from both previous experience and this blog. Take action now, prepare for the worst but remain hopeful.
Lastly, please abide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 response plan. Socially distance from others, keep your social hub small, wear your mask (over your nose), frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and sanitize commonly touched surfaces often.
What have you done to prepare for a winter lockdown? What activities or tips saved you earlier in this pandemic? Comment below!