How To Cope & Hold Onto Hope

How to cope 
In uncertain times it’s easy to let the fear, worry and anxiety get the best of us. Here’s a few things I’ve been doing to hold onto the hope during this unprecedented time 
Facing Adversity
We’ve had our fair share of moments facing adversity in the past few years with our pregnancy losses, medical scares, and losing loved ones. This new crisis we're wading through is something that exceeds personal levels, it's something almost all of us are having to deal with lately: the Coronavirus. With the COVID-19 pandemic upon us and our lives shifted in the most crazy of ways lately, I’ve been turning to a few methods used in the past that have helped me cope with difficult times.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with stressful or worrisome times. Here are a few things I’ve done in the past that have helped me:

“Good and Bad List”
It’s as simple as it sounds... chronicling one “good” and one “bad” each day. This was something I did after losing our angel son and as silly as it sounds, I found it helped immensely. There’s something therapeutic about writing down feelings so for this process I’d basically write/list one setback during the day. This setback could be a fear, a stressful moment, basically one negative from the day. Then on the flip side I’d end with one thing that was “good”. It could be any bright spot felt during the day. Something as fleeting as a funny commercial on tv or accomplishing something during the day. No matter how big or small, listing down one of each opposite moment during the day truly helped me cope. As time went on, I noticed that the negatives slowly started to fade away or sometimes it became hard to even think of a negative since they were soon overtaken by too many positives to list. 
Look for the light, the rainbows... after a dark and cloudy day!

*After lots of amazing suggestions, I've renamed my "good and bad list" to "Dark Clouds and Rainbows of the Day!". Fitting, right?

Keep a Journal
Expanding on the “good and bad” list is keeping a full blown journal. I found writing down my emotions and tracking through thoughts each day was helpful. During a hard time it can be helpful sort through things and provide clarity in dealing with the situation at hand. One fun things I'm contemplating is writing down one emotion each day on a post it and placing it on a mirror for this current COVID-19 situation. 

Treat Yo Self
Flowers. Chocolates. A Stella Lou plush doll from Tokyo Disney? What do these all have in common? Items that helped me get through my grieving days from before. Finding little things that would help brighten my day boosted my mood. Flowers were actually the #1 thing I’d allow myself to get on a weekly basis. Finding a pretty bouquet and placing it on my nightstand constantly served as a reminder of something good. I know in times like this flowers might be hard to come by, but if theres anything else that can serve as a "treat" to indulge in to boost your mood, do it! These little things act as reminders of happiness, definitely a dose of what we all need right now.

What about that Stella Lou? Ha! Well it’s a cute little character plush released in 2017 and I bought one for myself via an online reseller from Japan. Totally a random puschase, but having her made me so happy!

Support from Loved Ones
This time of social distancing can leave us feeling so isolated. I for one am an introvert by nature so it doesn’t impact me as much as say someone who likes to be a social butterfly. I’m shy and like to keep to myself in general. One random fact about me? I’m not a fan of phone calls! I’m more of a text person and can thrive with written words but when it comes to verbalizing conversations I totally clam up and get awkward! 

How does this relate to coping when this is listed from support from loved ones? In this crazy time where we’re encouraged NOT to be around each other, it’s still important to connect with our family and friends. Even if I’m not a phone call type of gal, a quick text or message can go a long way during this time.

On the flip side, I've recently found comfort in reaching out to others and doing the checking in on them during this time. My parents only live about a block away from us, but my sister lives in SoCal hours away and my in-laws live in another city here in the Bay Area so we won't get to see them until our "shelter in place" is over. What's been comforting has been getting to check in on them and letting them know that we're still here for them even when we can't be physically. We've FaceTimed, set up shared albums to take photos of Ben to share daily and have group texts to stay connected.

Give Yourself Grace
Have you ever been in a pandemic crisis before? Most likely, not. There’s no guidebook or rules on how to appropriately cope with something like this. You’re allow to feel anything you need to during this unnnown time. Scared? Me too. Stressed. Yup. Anxious? That’s totally okay, this is all okay. It’s human nature to feel every type of emotion during this time. As long as we’re all being safe for ourselves and others in regards to physically doing what we need to do, when it comes to emotions we’re allowed to be whatever we need to. So give yourself grace in this unsettling time. If you need to shut off the news, do so! If you’d like to binge every breaking tidbit and article that comes out, that’s fine too. Feel like you just want to be in sweats and no make-up for the next however long? Yes! Feel like you want to put on a nice outfit and get ready to the nines, even though you have no where to go? Excellent! Do you, do what you need to do to emotionally stay sane or cope during this time.

Lastly...
Know that this too shall pass. This is a crazy, uncertain time for the world, but eventually we’ll find our way back to the light. We’re going to get through this and make it out on the other side better, stronger and hopefully kinder than we were before! When life gives us a turning point, we have the choice to either do good with it or let it crush us. Do good, be good and we'll get through this!
Hang in there everyone! We’ll be okay! Stay safe, stay sane and take care. 💜

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