The Pandemic Isn’t Over: How to Handle COVID-19 Fatigue

Written by: The Circles Team

Dec 27, 2020

Are you feeling anxious and exhausted? Well, you are not alone. Coronavirus cases are increasing across the country. It is normal to feel worried, anxious and exhausted during this challenging time. New data shows that Americans are suffering from unprecedented levels of mental stress. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently shared that most American adults believe that the pandemic is taking a toll on their mental health.

It would appear that we are still in the depths of this very challenging marathon. Now more than ever, it is important to check-in with ourselves and our emotional needs. We can do the best thing to pace ourselves as we enter this next stretch of the pandemic. As the pandemic continues, here are some tips to check in with yourself and nurture your mental health.

Do Things That Make You Happy: It may seem like the world has shut down, and yes, many things have, but there is still a lot of joy to be found. Remember to find the time EVERY day to do something that makes you happy.

Engage in Physical Activity Every Day: Research shows that exercise has an immediate and positive effect on our moods. If you are a seasoned athlete, set a goal and GO FOR IT. If you are not, it doesn’t matter. There are so many ways to get started. Even a little bit of physical activity goes a long way – a 30-minute walk or stretching each day will quickly lift your mood.

Talk to Someone: It can be difficult to handle stress alone, and we shouldn’t have to. Stay connected to family and friends, and remember to offer your support too. If you are having trouble managing stress or staying connected, consider joining an emotional support group for advice and connection.

At Circles, we have special programs that will help you learn tools to manage your stress levels better and navigate this weird world we are now living in a while, finding your balance and peace of mind. Join and be surrounded by support from people like you.

Stay Informed, but Limit Exposure to Social Media: It is essential to stay informed with accurate information from trusted sources. Remember, your risk is unique to you and your family. Making choices that are best for your situation might look different than those of a loved one. That is okay. Understanding the risk to yourself and the people you care about can make daily decisions less stressful. Try to limit exposure to media, especially when children are present, and self-monitor your time on social media if that impacts your level of stress.

Stress is inevitable. It affects everyone, especially during these unprecedented and challenging times. But stress does not have to lead to stress-related disease or adverse health consequences. Remember to check in with yourself and your loved ones daily. Remember there are many tools and resources out there to help keep your stress in

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Back to School Anxiety? 3 Tips Parents Need to Know for Managing Their Family’s Mental Health During the Pandemic

Written by: The Circles Team

Aug 30, 2020

Stay healthy. Stay calm. This is a little mantra to keep in clear view for this year’s back to the school calendar. With so much going on, it is normal to feel stressed. With a situation filled with so much uncertainty, it is normal to feel anxiety. As we begin the back to school season, it is clear that this is a year like no other. So, whether your child is going back to kindergarten or college or whether your school is going hybrid, remote, or fully in person, you’d better buckle up your seatbelts and get ready for a wild rollercoaster ride.

To begin, remember that you are doing you and you are making decisions based on what is right for your family. Try not to spend time comparing your decisions to those of others. Refrain from making judgments. Everyone is trying to navigate during this crazy time the best that they can. Have empathy for those who seem to be struggling a bit more. Regardless of what your family’s individual situation may be, here are three creative strategies for managing the symptoms of stress and anxiety as you face the new school year ahead.

Focus on the areas that you can control: There are so many things out of your control right now. Think about it. We are unable to control whether the school will open or close. We are unable to control the global rate of disease spread. We cannot control if the supermarket will have the groceries that we need. And we cannot control when businesses open or close. And perhaps the most frustrating part? We have no idea how much longer this pandemic will last? Weeks? Months? Half a year? Your guess is as good as mine. But until the said time, let go of the things that you cannot control. Spend your time and energy, focusing on the things that you can control. You can control your thoughts and attitudes. You can control how you spend your time. Try turning off the news and watching a program for enjoyment. Pick up a book or go outside and celebrate the beauty of nature. Help others and spread kindness. There are many amazing ways to find enjoyment during this unprecedented time. Establish Routines: Covid-19, working from home, and homeschooling children have created a lack of structure for many. Routines are an excellent tool to help us cope with change and uncertainty. When you set up a routine, you know exactly what to expect. With so much on your plate to manage, setting up a routine can ensure that you are not leaving out important components of self-care from your day today. For kids, a chalkboard or whiteboard is an excellent place to help them visualize routine. Give the kids some control by adding fun items to the calendar. For everyone’s health and sanity, keep mealtimes and bedtimes on schedule. Make your routine fun! And remember not to over-schedule. It’s important to leave some room for spontaneity and silliness in there. Have Regular Mental Health Check-ins and Reinforce Ways to Cope: Check-in regularly with your loved ones to make sure they are managing their stresses okay. Remember, children often show stress differently than adults. Changes to eating, sleeping, and loss of interest in things they once enjoyed are common ways for kids to show stress. Normalize the routine of talking about feelings. As parents, our natural ability is to solve problems and lessen our kids’ pain and discomfort. However, our kids need to develop their own solutions on ways to cope with their stress. Try listening to your kids’ frustrations without giving advice. Ask them to find their own coping mechanisms, which are self-soothing. Put the power in their hands to find ways to cope with a challenging and frustrating time. Remember, you are your children’s greatest teachers and their most adored role models. The better plan you have to manage your own Covid related stress and anxiety, the better your children will do. For additional information, the CDC has excellent resources for families on managing COVID-19 related stress.

5 Tips to Becoming More Resilient

Written by: The Circles Team

Oct 15, 2020

Many people talk about building resilience or grit, but what exactly does it mean? How can we develop resilience, especially when we’re going through a hard time? Though it may seem like a difficult, abstract thing to do, there are certain beliefs and mindsets we can put into play and practice every day to help ourselves feel better and build resilience.

What does resilience mean?

The theory of resilience holds that adversity occurs to all of us, but what is important is how we deal with it. Strength can help us deal with difficulties or misfortune. It can have different meanings across cultures and societies, and individuals can be more resilient at specific points in their life than others.

Resilience is closely related to positive psychology, which says that specific characteristics can help us deal positively with challenges in our lives. It has been defined as “the process of adapting well” in the face of adversity or significant sources of stress, such as family and relationship problems, health issues, or financial stress.

Can we learn resilience?

How can we transform an idea into something we can implement in our daily lives? The good news is that it’s been found that resilience can be built – it’s not something we either have or don’t have. It’s something we can practice every day, just like we learned how to ride a bike, how to be a good friend, and what works best for taking care of ourselves. It’s something we can work on and develop, just like building up our muscle strength.

So, the answer is yes, we can.

5 Tips to becoming more resilient

There are many ways to build resilience. By understanding how our thoughts and beliefs affect our feelings and experiences, we can begin to recognize our own role in how we react to things. And we can start becoming more resilient and bouncing back from challenges.

-** Be aware of personalization.** This refers to holding ourselves accountable for all the bad things that happen, blaming ourselves, and saying that it’s our fault. This can be an automatic response sometimes. Notice it. Know that it’s not always the case, and we can begin to recognize there are other possible reactions.

  • Notice pervasiveness. Pervasiveness is the belief that a negative situation can spread across all areas of our life. Acknowledge that bad feelings don’t impact every aspect of our lives, or ourselves.
  • Recognize things are not permanent. A feeling of permanence, especially as it relates to bad events, can prevent us from improving our situation. It can overwhelm us and make it seem that we can’t go on. Change is an ever-present part of life. Things change, situations change, and we change, too. It’s a natural part of life.
  • Share our emotions. Sharing emotions, both positive and negative feelings, can help us be open and honest about how we’re doing. It helps with our communication processes and can not only bring relief through expressing ourselves but also help us clarify our situations and start working on feeling better. -** Build connections**. By purposefully connecting with others, we know that we’re not alone in dealing with our situation. We can ask for help, gain other perspectives, check in with others about how we’re doing, and feel less alone. This helps us build strength and support for dealing with things and moving forward.

Resilience isn’t about ignoring the bad things in life or pretending they don’t matter. It’s about reflecting upon ourselves and our situations and creating a positive mindset to help ourselves feel better. We can all practice resilience every day.

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