Well, folks, we did it. We survived another year of mask politics, hybrid learning, Covid-testing, vaccine boosters, and all-around covid-flavored drama. We commend you! It's been a hard couple of years and we are now entering year three of a global pandemic that has truly tested us all.
This pandemic has brought to light some of the world's most impending issues and has left many feeling out of control or even hopeless. Productivity has helped and hindered, but I think the most valuable lesson I've learned is that while each person's needs are different, we can help each other out by sharing our own coping mechanisms. After all, it seems like we have nothing but time to test out different methods of making ourselves happy through yet another year of COVID.
I asked my ArcStonian friends what got them through the last year of the pandemic and my hope is that someone can use one or all of these tips to get through 2022.
Our Tips for Getting Through Another Year of Covid
Through the good and the bad, I truly wish you a happy new year! Here are some things that have helped us stay positive or just stay sane over the last couple of years:
Lean On a Furry Friend for Comfort and Stability
One of the many things COVID has kicked from underneath us is stability. Routine has shifted greatly and things that were previously black and white have become rather gray. One way that a few ArcStonian's found structure and comfort, was through their furry children. Whether you have a dog, cat, or rabbit, our most precious domesticated creatures bring us not only happiness but a sense of structure and responsibility.
Our pets become a part of our family and they act as a support system for a lot of us. Just as much as they need us, we need them, and we're grateful that they don't judge us for wearing the same sweatpants 4 days in a row.
Find Your Favorite Form of Movement
Even if it's just taking the dog for a walk around the block, integrating some kind of movement in your day has incredible benefits to your physical and mental health. Beyond the endorphins and physical benefits of moving your body, virtually any form of movement has been proven to have positive long-term effects on your mental health.
Many ArcStonians partake in gentle forms of movement like yoga or walking but even weight-based or high-impact movement can be great. It's just a matter of finding what you like and consistently moving your body that makes you feel good!
Connect With Loved Ones However You Can
Luckily for a lot of us, being able to connect in person became more of a norm in 2021. At-home rapid tests and an increase in vaccinations helped us to feel more confident to partake in gatherings. But now that Omicron is rearing its ugly head, we're starting to head back into the likelihood that gatherings won't be as common.
But that being said, connecting with those that you love doesn't have to mean being in the same physical space. The last two years have forced many of us to boost our Zoom skills and there's something to be said about having a virtual happy hour or game night. It's a chance to feel connected to your family and friends, get that social interaction in, and you don't have to go outside or (try to) start your car. Which, if you live in Minnesota, is a treat in and of itself.
I personally no longer feel guilty about my impulsive need to take up and then drop new hobbies after short periods of time. Because at least I'm starting something. I've been lucky enough to try many new hobbies and it has kept me feeling productive and stimulated. Try out that thing you've always been curious about if you're feeling stagnant. You could start by simply watching YouTube videos of other people doing said thing.
Our team is made up of writers, designers, photographers, and even wood-workers who got their passions back for their craft over the last couple of years of COVID. Maybe you're secretly an incredible poet but haven't yet put pen to paper. There is no time like the present!
Be Gentle On Yourself
If you take any one tip away from this, make it this one. Times are really tough right now. More so for some and less so for others, but we're all existing in the same strange time. Give yourself the slack that you would give someone you love. Be your own best cheerleader when you're going for your goals and be your own support when you're down in the dumps.
There is no one way to process or heal. So give yourself some grace if you're struggling to see the positives right now. Whether you need to rewatch your favorite movie in bed or commit to a long meditation, do whatever it is that will help you best this year.