This May, we’ll be exploring various aspects of mental health in a new series called “How Do I Deal?” As we navigate Mental Health Awareness month during COVID-19 this year, we feel like this current moment in time requires us to go a few layers deeper as we learn how to manage all the grief hope, whiplash, fear, anxiety, and sadness we may be feeling in this moment and beyond.

By The GNI Team

Let’s start with some truth: there are no right or wrong answers to how you’re dealing with this moment in time. These past few months have tested us in so many different ways, and as we look ahead, we want to take account of how we’re coping with all of the emotions that we’re experiencing right now. We believe that it’s important to name and recognize the fact that we respond to emergency situations in beautiful and different ways. Last week, we asked you how exactly you’re dealing with it all right now. Now, we’re taking a moment to nod along with all of the responses we collected and thank you for your honesty and vulnerability as we brave this uncertain world together.

We asked you: How are you dealing and what are you doing to cope right now? Here’s what you said…

Doing my own thing and getting to know myself better…

“My weird thing that I do when I’m sad or having a bad day is that I sit in my bathtub. No water in the tub, still in my clothes. I just sit in the tub and have a good cry and then I go about my day.” - Emily G.

“Weird things I do to feel better: 1) Do my bedtime routine at 6pm, or as soon as I get home. I love having the evening to unwind and not think. Living alone, I really have to engineer my own mood and mindset since there are no “signals” from others. 2) I eat out of the pot I cooked in. I don’t even take it off the stove. I just grab a spoon and stand barefoot and sometimes in my underwear.” - Grace C.

“To cope and deal, I’ve decided… to try and be in alignment at all times and be compassionate [with myself] when I’m not. Now I only work when it feels aligning and the same goes for everything: eat, clean, go on social media, sleep, get dressed or not, and so on.” - Lucie A.

Leaning on books and entertainment for a positive distraction…

“I’m coping right now with Animal Crossing. The easy tasks in the game and the soothing pace make it a really nice escape. It’s nice to have something pleasant to focus on.” - Alexis R.

“Reading Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass and taking this time to examine some false beliefs I have and create new awesome ones.” - Ashley B.

“I’ve been watching lots of Netflix, I learned how to embroider, I’ve been sitting in the sun, working out, and re-reading my favorite books! I think I may try baking next!” - Allie R.

Staying present in my own life and what I can control…

“I’ve been taking nature walks with my mom. I keep reminding myself that although it’s strange to be home again as an adult woman in her late 20s, this quality time I’m getting with her is something I’m sure I’ll be grateful for in the future. Being present and letting her share her knowledge with me about the plants and animals we spot (she is a self-described “Citizen Scientist”) has been a new favorite part of my days.” - Casey B.

“I realized that we are all trying to be productive during this time (kind of like setting multiple new year’s resolutions), which can be motivating, but also very stressful. I wrote this article titled How NOT to Get Overwhelmed With a Growing Quarantine To-Do list.” - Tanvi A.

Looking to pets for a pick-me-up during this tough time…

“Because I live alone, I’ve been relying on my dog for companionship and comfort. He sits on my lap during my conference calls. He encourages me to get outside and take him for his daily walks. And he cuddles with me at night when I’m feeling lonely or sad. I feel very grateful to have him,especially now.” -Erin W.

“What’s the weirdest thing I do to feel better? I research new fish species to add to my new freshwater aquarium. It’s been kind of difficult to find them in stores because fish aren’t being stocked as regularly during the quarantine, but a girl can dream!” - Savi

Creating new rituals that help me feel better about things…

“One thing I have started doing every Friday as a ritual is: cleaning the house, putting fresh sheets on my bed, taking a gloriously hot shower, jumping into my favorite PJ set, and writing in my journal. Every Friday I will literally vent whatever I have been thinking and feeling just to get it off my chest!” - Yazmine M.

“I’ve started taking long afternoon walks with my partner every day as a means of coping. It’s a really good low-impact exercise and we’re able to get outside and enjoy the sun while social distancing. I feel it’s been really good for my mental health as well as my physical health, so I hope it’s a habit I keep after quarantine is over. I know not everyone is in a position where they can get outside every day, so I feel really lucky that I live somewhere quiet enough to do so safely.” - Mykki

Keeping up with my people (and my therapist!)…

“The best things I’ve been doing to help cope: weekly video calls with my therapist (even though I feel like I’m saying the same thing every week), moving my body for at least 30 minutes a day (this evaporates any built-up tension and anxiety from the day) and drinking 110 ounces of water a day. These things would be so easy to skip right now, but when I do them I feel like I’m taking care of myself and actually in control of something! :)” - Kristin

“I’ve always used workout classes to give me a sense of accomplishment, endorphins, community and I’ve found I’m finding live classes (via FB, IG, zoom, or other) vital to my wellbeing now. I get a good sweat on, I connect with others and most importantly it gives me something to look forward to and differentiates the days for me. Monday-Wednesday-Friday, I know I have a tabata facetime workout session with a couple of friends. Fridays & Saturdays I have pilates, etc… My classes allow me to connect with others, get a sweat on, and break up the week.” - Mary B.

When in doubt, I write it out…

“Daily meditation and journaling is huge for me. For years I would only meditate and journal every once in a while, but with the world turning sideways, I fully committed to my daily practice. I do a zoom yoga class 1-3x per week, and I watercolor about once a week. I’ve been playing Animal Crossing on my Switch too. I’ve been seeing my therapist once a week via zoom. Finally, I have been deepening my spiritual practice through reading and watching videos. Taking this time to turn inward is really important to me.” - Simone W.

“I’ve been journaling every day. Some days I keep it brief and only record the facts of what happened. Other days I am so overwhelmed by emotions that I fill my notebook with pages and pages of notes. It helps to get it all down on paper, as that allows me to process the events that have transpired and see it objectively, but also because I feel less anxious knowing that I don’t have to remember every story and detail and statistic about this crazy time.” - Emily T.

Managing my relationship with technology…

“Some of the time I’m not dealing well but what’s really helped me is deleting my news app from my phone. I was checking it multiple times a day and having an anxiety spiral. It also helps me to take a walk and from our balcony/deck watch the birds at work. We set up a bird feeder and a birdhouse. A couple of Carolina wrens are building a nest in the house as I type. We were also on goose nest watch at our neighborhood pond and those goslings hatched two days ago. It gives me hope to see life continuing as normal even while we’re hunkered down in our homes.” - Denise Q.

“I absolutely love listening to Sleep Stories on the Calm app right now. It is a way for me to truly relax before going to sleep each night. It clears my mind and find it so relaxing after a long day.” - Taylor W.

“I’ve actually been trying to actively engage more on Instagram, posting silly thoughts from my day to my stories. I used to be a pretty passive user… but it’s been so nice to have people respond periodically, laughing at whatever it was or recommending something related!” - Rosemary L.

How are you dealing and what are you doing to cope right now? Let us know in the comments below. 👇 Click here to subscribe to our newsletter, and be a part of conversations like this one all month long.

Image by @oliviarogine.