PTSD: New Normal amid COVID-19
After another long day of our new normal since COVID-19 shifted our lifestyle, I sit at the kitchen table noticing the crunch of an oreo cookie. I close my eyes and soak in the blissful silence brought about by electronics; all my loved ones are playing on their screens. Our kids are on their tablets and my husband is exploring the world of Call to Duty.
It’s a really weird moment. While dinner is heating in the oven, I decided to soak in the quiet, sit down and savor a treat.
Before COVID-19 we did not allow tablet time on a school night.
Before COVID-19 I would wait to eat dessert with everyone else.
Before COVID-19 I juggled food preparation and chores simultaneously.
Before COVID-19 we leaned into structure and routine.
Life looked one way. Now our days have to look different. Maybe for a short season or something more permanent. I thought I would adapt quickly because we face change all the time as a military family. It seemed plausible to sail right into the shift of a world responding to the impact of COVID-19.
Then the nightmares started.
Then the panic attacks threatened to surface.
Then the depression began seeping in my bones.
I have resisted making this full transition and accepting the big picture of the reminder that COVID-19 brings, our world is uncertain.
I worry for the kids mandated to stay home who are in abusive situations.
I worry for my Gran who has begun chemo.
I worry for my baby niece who has surgery tomorrow.
I bet you do too. Your worries, your reactions, and your life before COVID-19 probably look a lot different than mine but we are still navigating this change together. And we are doing it with PTSD.
There are a few things helping me cope during this transition that may spark an idea or two for you:
- Take a walk everyday. I usually enjoy exercise but this feels more like a chore these days. What has helped me feel nourished by these moments is waving to neighbors and saying hello. I have never seen most of these people before!
- Sleep. I’m in bed by 9.30pm and up by 6.30am. I allow myself to sleep in once or twice a week but that’s it.
- Document life. Write down thoughts, lifestyle changes or reach out to a friend to chat.
- Minimal to no social media or “google searches”. I rely on a few trusted sources for daily updates. Otherwise my brain shuts down, even with good news.
- Monitor my emotional eating. I’m not perfect right now and that’s okay. However, I watch what I eat and drink so that I can tell myself “no” when I cross a healthy line.
The shift in our world is a little more than I can fully comprehend, so I’ve stopped trying to. Instead I am laser focused on creating a new normal for the people in my life and showing up in my small sphere of influence. How are you adjusting to your new normal amid COVID-19? We are responsible for our actions and decisions, so let’s make them ones we can live with in a year.