I was really looking forward to Spring Break week as a chance to work on some projects that are due later in the semester—fun, creative stuff! Instead, I became transfixed by everything I was seeing about COVID-19 on my social media accounts and on the news websites I follow. What I was reading made me very anxious, but I just couldn’t stop myself from looking at it. I became so downhearted I couldn’t summon up any enthusiasm for my projects at all.
Then, one day, I couldn’t stand to read the angry and negative comments on a Facebook group I belonged to, so I “unjoined” it. It was a group I had joined years ago to find out about stuff happening near me—items for sale, food deliveries, meetings and events. Not that any of those last two things are happening these days, but it was a good place to feel connected to the community I live in. I’ll rejoin it at a later date, I’m sure, but not having that constant negative presence in my day made an amazing difference to my ability to think of other things and get on with my projects.
Perhaps you might consider doing something similar if you feel that you’d benefit from a bit of respite from all the negativity and uncertainty in the air right now. Here are some suggestions of what might help:
- As far as possible, turn off all notifications other than those which come from people you need to stay in touch with daily—for example, family who might want you to run an errand or who like to check in to see if you need any help.
- Consider having one family member or friend do a daily check-in post that consists of something funny or uplifting so that folks can respond if they feel moved to do so. I became much less anxious about my distant ‘ohana when my nephew’s wife started doing this.
- “Snooze” any people who are contributing more to a negative view of the world than a positive one.
- Ask yourself whether you really need to before you post something new or comment on someone’s else’s post, especially if it’s about something controversial.
The website for the University of Colorado Boulder Health and Wellness Services has some really good tips. The article was written in early March, but it is still applicable, except for the part about face-to-face meetings. Maybe you’ll even consider taking the only vacation we can take right now—a vacation from social! Here is the link: https://www.colorado.edu/health/2020/03/02/stop-scrolling-4-things-you-should-be-doing-social
If you are feeling overwhelmed, UH Maui College has trained professionals available to offer emotional and personal support. Confidential sessions are conducted via telehealth and phone. To schedule an appointment, use the contact emails provided in the Personal Support Counseling section of this webpage: http://maui.hawaii.edu/health-center/coronavirus-update/covid-19-student-support/