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Are You "Over It" Already?

Are You "Over It" Already?
Rounding out the sixth week at home with no clear end in sight, many have been feeling “over it” lately. This was actually one of the most popular phrases I heard last week. “I am over it already…” Over the frustrations, over not knowing, some of us even “over” ourselves, and over the anxiety that has given way to exhausted malaise. 
In case you might be feeling “over” COVID-19 too, I wanted to pass on three highlights that boosted me and the people I worked with this past week. 
1. Laughter 
A friend’s videotaped reaction to the three-week extension of the stay at home order was a priceless gift to her social media friends this week. She couldn’t stop laughing, and when I tripped across her video, I couldn’t either just watching… It was that cathartic, contagious kind of laughter that both engulfs and releases tension all at the same time, and leaves you feeling happier, connected, and just better. And it was good. I am still giggling to myself just thinking about it - a true gift.
So whether it’s a favorite rerun of Seinfeld, the latest edition Some Good News, or your own brand of the ridiculous, search out opportunities to laugh wherever you can. Laughter can be a powerful emotional reset. 
2. Resetting Expectations
The second gift was this beautifully written and well-circulated article reminding what the goal of quarantine should be: arriving on the other side. Hopefully you may have seen it, but it is worth a read if you didn’t. With so many ideas circulating about how to use quarantine time productively, this author’s advice struck a chord for people feeling frustrated by unmet expectations and disappointments, something that can be especially challenging for people who experience more anxiety.
Extended time at home can offer many unique opportunities to be sure, but getting caught up in them adds pressure and risks losing sight of quarantine’s larger purpose, which is survival. Survival is an achievement. Nothing more. We’re not likely to look back on this time as wasted, but instead feel grateful we are on the other side, in tact.
3. Self Compassion
As we prepare for a post-quarantine future, our primary goals should be our physical and mental health, especially as history warns our mental health will remain vulnerable even after the pandemic subsides. Resetting quarantine expectations can be a powerful act of self compassion, that in itself is well understood to boost resilience. Not only can it help limit your current overall stress levels, but can also protect against the additive anxiety and guilt that accompany unmet expectations, and erode resilience. 
So… if you find yourself feeling frustrated, disappointed, or guilty about how you are spending your time these days, see where your expectations might have crept up a bit too high. Remembering the primary goal of a healthy arrival on the other side, ask yourself how you could right size your expectations and give yourself (or others) a break. A mindset of compassion for yourself and others, especially in the face of trauma, can go a long way in growing your mental capacity, and resilience.
Just getting through the day, safe and sound, is a major accomplishment these days, and truly what matters most. Even better if you can share in a good cackle, or even a good cry. 
Wishing you self-compassion, good spirits, and resilience,
Alicia

Useful graphic about the power of awareness and choice; unknown author
Useful graphic about the power of awareness and choice; unknown author
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Alicia H Clark PsyD Wellness Digest

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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, PLLC, 1350 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036