Re-charging your brain as the pandemic continues into fall

We told ourselves that we just had to get through 2020 with COVID-19. However, in 2021, we’ve found the situation staying stagnant or even getting worse, despite our high expectations. We thought 2021 would be the time to make up for celebrations and time with loved ones, but we’re still masking up, social distancing, and making difficult schooling and financial decisions; no matter how hard we try to act like it’s normal, we are painfully aware that it’s not.

It would be helpful if we could unify and all work together, but that isn’t what has played out. In fact, there is more division among us; everyone wants their own way. For many, this has left a feeling of overwhelming stress, fatigue, and hopelessness. The second year of the pandemic is like the last third of a marathon. You notice the breakdown in your body and you are exhausted and depleted. If you feel as though you need a new outlook to persevere and thrive, here are four suggestions that can help.

1. Undo negative self-talk by practicing healthy habits. Your brain retains everything you say and acts accordingly. When you are critical of yourself due to weight gain, your brain continues the negative cycle. Switch it up by beginning a new, positive habit. Take a mile walk every morning with your coffee and listen. Turn off your thoughts and simply listen to the sounds. Congratulate yourself when you arrive home.

2. Try to be there as a good listener for someone else. Brain research has suggested that brain chemistry changes when you focus on doing good for someone else. Listening to another is the greatest act of love and concern, but it also helps your brain train to be a better listener. No comments or judgments are necessary on your part.

3. Reward yourself for new resilience skills you’ve acquired. Rewards are huge motivators to making changes last, so don’t forget to reward yourself. Most of us have developed new skills during the pandemic – reward yourself with praise or a pampering treatment.

4. Re-adjust your expectations at work and home. A healthy mindset is important for personal growth and mentoring for your children. Open your mind, keep your thoughts and expectations flexible, and be willing to look at other’s perspectives. If you’ve set impossible standards, it may be time to readjust those. Expecting yourself or others to work at their same pace without rest will be disappointing for both you and them.

During difficult times, remind yourself that this season is temporary. Be aware that what is happening for you is happening to everyone; take time to pay it forward by doing little things for others that will make an incredible difference in how they react to others. There has never been a time in our lifetime where we needed to act of on kindness more than now.