Surviving Groundhog’s Day

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stephanie craigBy Stephanie Craig

Do you find yourself struggling through Groundhog’s Day Syndrome in the midst of COVID-19? Each day you wake up and it’s another home day surrounded by the same people. This week, I wasn’t sure what day it was, what I had accomplished in the past four days, or what I needed to do that day. It was uncomfortable and disorienting. Most days in the midst of quarantine look and feel similar without the common structures that separate weekdays from weekends, work days from home days, school days from family days. Your brain doesn’t quite know how to make sense of these new life rhythms or lack thereof.

In addition to lack of rhythms, it’s very difficult to get your bearings when you have no idea how long the pandemic will last or what life is going to look like for the next many months and years following these events. It brings up feelings of anxiety, stress, overwhelm and the necessary, but very uncomfortable, acknowledgement that you are out of control of many things surrounding the pandemic.

Though your traditional ways of making daily meaning in life are being challenged, you are still wired to seek a sense of purpose, value and connection. And, though you have a significant lack of control over the pandemic circumstances, your brain will continue to encourage you to engage self-control to sustain some personal health and balance in the midst of cultural chaos. So, what can you do to combat the Groundhog’s Day pull into a numbed out, stressed out existence?

5 Ways to Survive Groundhog’s Day Syndrome
-Create daily anchors. Your brain makes sense of your daily rhythms by recognizing the difference between what you do on any given day of the week. For example: On Monday, I do laundry; On Tuesday, I go to the store; On Saturday, I go on a nature walk; On Sunday, I watch a church podcast. Find one activity to do on the same day each week. This will help your brain begin to differentiate Monday from Saturday.

Create two tasks for the day. At the end of each day, take two minutes to reflect on what you would like to accomplish the following day to feel a sense of forward movement in your life. Write down the two things and do them the next day. For example: Tomorrow I will pay the electric bill and clean the bathroom.

Reach for gratitude. Choose one thing you are thankful for each day. Though the pandemic is very stressful, it has created some opportunities for slowing down, spending more time with family, remembering to pray for others, taking more walks, taking time for personal reflection, considering how you can help others, etc.

Keep consistent self-care routines. It’s easy when you aren’t leaving the house to skip the shower, teeth-brushing, getting dressed activities of the day. Though, most of us have given up on makeup and fashion, keeping up with your basic daily hygiene practices communicates a sense of personal value to yourself.

Sunday check in. Take five minutes to check in with yourself each week. Ask yourself, “How am I doing emotionally this week?” “Have I connected with a friend this week?” “Have I gotten outdoors this week?” “Do I need to ask for support from someone?” “Do I need to make any adjustments in the coming week to feel more grounded and positive?”

Nothing about COVID-19 is simple. It is creating chaos, grief and the daily uncomfortable sense of unknown. If you can, release what you cannot control, and engage your energy in using self-control in small, targeted areas in your daily life to guide you toward a greater sense of peace in the midst of the struggle.

Remember, there is wisdom in asking for additional support from family, friends or a counselor as you navigate the pandemic along with other stresses you might be experiencing. Many counselors are providing online sessions during quarantine including Journey Bravely Counseling.

Stephenie Craig is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in practice for over 16 years providing counseling to those ages 11 and up for issues like stress, anxiety, depression, life transition, divorce, boundaries, managing emotions, and healthy coping. She recently moved cross country with her husband, Todd, and their three sons 14, 11, and 7 to make a home in our area. She loves to support individuals, families, and the community in being emotionally, physically, and spiritually well. Connect with Stephenie at her private practice, Journey Bravely, at journeybravely.com, stepheniecraig@journeybravely.com or (918) 221-9987.