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No matter who you are, times are difficult right now. In the United States, COVID-19 cases are again surging in almost every state. People are navigating making choices on whether to visit family, send their children to school, and other heavy decisions that you used to never give a second thought to. We’ve compiled six tips to help you manage the stress of living in this on-going world of limbo.

1. Turn off the Noise

We all know the media has a lot to talk about these days. Every outlet has a side and is trying to reach as many people (customers) as possible, whether that’s in agreement with their views or not. The Coronavirus pandemic has so many sides to analyze: economic, global, medical, political, psychological, social–you name it! Take a break from the daily reporting for a few days. Set aside a short amount of time every few days to check the status of the world and then do your best to put it aside. No more late night “doom scrolling!”

2. Use Data in your Decisions

Are you having trouble making daily decisions for you and your family on what is a safe activity or not? We know a lot more now than we did in the Spring of 2020 about how to be safer in our everyday activities. Overall, the biggest risk in spreading COVID-19 is close contact with other people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a page titled “Deciding to Go Out” that highlights 11 questions you can ask yourself in making an informed and personal decision about your own activity. By practicing the safest habits, you can feel more confident in your decisions to meet one friend at the golf course or in respectfully declining that wedding invite.

3. Be the Good

Stress is always so much stronger when we internalize and focus on ourselves. Send loved ones a handwritten note, a meal, or some sweet treats. We’re all missing people both near and far, we just often forget to tell them! It can go a long way just to say “hello!” beyond our digital world. But in turn, kindness and gratitude toward others should also be given to yourself. Get proper sleep, eat well, and be gentle with yourself!

4. Get Outdoors

You may typically not venture outdoors much in the fall or winter months, but this year
is going to be different! Dig out your winter hats, gloves, and maybe even some long underwear and get outside. The change of scenery is a great way to get a new perspective when a lot of people are home way more than usual this year.

5. Connect with Others outside Social Media

Social media can be a great tool to keep people connected. Watching kids grow, learning about local events, and staying in touch with family and friends can be a great thing! However, we all know that social media is also a place where people hide behind their computers and say things you would never hear them say or do in person. As we’re seeing people less, it’s easy to see your friends’ and family’s social media behavior as a reflection of their personalities and think poorly of them. Engaging in debates or political fights over social media rarely leaves any party satisfied. Have a family member change your password for a week or two and see how you feel. Those cute kid and dog pictures will still be there when you return!

6. Visit a Mental Health Professional

If you find yourself more anxious or stressed than usual, do not be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional. This is everyone’s first global pandemic, it’s completely understandable to not have all the tools to handle it! Virtual therapy has become extremely accessible throughout the pandemic. Some therapists even offer sessions through exchanging text messages! It’s okay to not be okay, but getting help and learning coping skills is always a good idea.