Navigating pandemic post traumatic stress – my story

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I’m sure I’m not alone in this experience, but the last year has been a real struggle for me. I was very well-prepared to tackle some of the logistical issues that the pandemic presented, like homeschooling for my kids or single-handedly running all the errands for myself and my family. What I hadn’t realized was how emotionally overwhelming it would be to remain closeted in my house during such an extended period of time and the seismic shift in life as we knew it.

It made me see up close what an unpredictable place our world can be and caused a sense of uncertainty that can become almost paralyzing when given enough time to settle in. It was strange: one minute I felt relatively normal and then suddenly out of nowhere crept panicky feelings or a general feeling of dread throughout my body.

There were days where it could feel debilitating–I’d lay in bed with no desire whatsoever to get up and barely had the energy to do anything productive anyway–but slowly I have found ways, both professional and personally, to cope. I employ mindfulness tactics; meditating for brief moments throughout the day helped me regulate stressful thinking patterns; make note of three small things each day that make me smile so I can revisit them on tough days; learned how to lean on those in my circle who are great resources for emotional support; journal; make sure that any lockdown blues don’t derail healthy habits like regular exercise, making healthy meals from scratch, and setting boundaries between work & home life.

Most importantly, though, I remember everyday that this is just one chapter in a life full of ups & downs and if there’s one thing I’m certain about these days is nothing ever stays quite the same forever – reminding myself that helps keep things in perspective when those pandemic post traumatic stress feels like too much to handle alone.