Tips for Navigating These Challenging Times

By Andrew Gladstone-Highland, M.S.W. 

Fifty years from now, our grandchildren will be learning about 2020 in their history classes.  However, continuing to hear about how unprecedented this year is doesn’t necessarily help us, right now.  If you are feeling down or anxious in the midst of all that is happening around us, then it may be comforting to know that you are definitely not alone – But what can you do about those feelings?

  1. Connect to your loved ones – in-person, if possible and safe, or over the phone or Zoom. It’s good to hear the voices of the people who are most important to us!  If you are pressed for time, an email or text can help you to feel connected, and to feel less isolated.
  2. Limit your intake of news, setting aside time only when you have the desire and the energy to catch up on the world around us.  Be aware of what you can control and what you can’t – Most things in the news are beyond our personal control, so try not to get overwhelmed by all the intensity and negativity!
  3. Seek out beauty in the natural world, and seek out humor.  A mentor of mine talks about “Equal and opposite forces” – we have to balance the heaviness of the pandemic and our politics with lightness, beauty, and laughter!
  4. If you find yourself worrying about the possibility of people you know getting sick, try to remember that there is also a very good chance that everyone you love will stay well, or that those who get sick will recover relatively easily.  Remember what YOU CAN do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy.
  5. Take care of yourself! Do the things that are good for your body and your mind – Get a good night’s sleep, eat well, take a nap, take a walk. Listen to music you love, go for a drive, get some exercise, give a friend a call.

Above all, recognize that “This too shall pass.”  That has become more difficult to remember, as the weeks and months have continued to pass – Human beings are pretty good at adapting to short-term crises, but not as good at adapting to long-term crises.  The adrenaline of the early days of the pandemic wore off a long time ago, and now we are settling in for the late fall and winter.  None of this is easy, and the best historical comparison, aside from other pandemics, is probably to compare this time to what it was like to live through one of the World Wars or the Great Depression.  But each day brings us closer to the day when this period will be over.  Think of the stories you will have to tell!  In the meantime, be kind to yourself, be kind to those around you, and we will get through this, together.

Andrew Gladstone-HIghland, M.S.W. is a staff therapist at Child and Family Solutions Center who recently joined our team. He works with children, teens, adults and families.  Andrew is currently accepting new patients. He can be reached at 248-851-5437 and Andrew@childfsc.com

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