COVID Survival Plan: Six Steps to Staying Steady

Surviving COVID, on top of ALZ caregiving, is like surviving the free fall of skydiving. It takes a plan—and practice—to stay steady enough to open our parachutes in these stormy times. Here are half-a-dozen steps, grounded in science and personal experience, that make up my daily action plan.

1. Spotlight self-care

Because it lays the foundation for mentally managing a perilous world
So, I stress physical activity, sleep, exercise, healthy eats, and social contacts

2. Schedule uplifting activities

Because we all need to get out of our heads and into our lives
So, I engage in prized projects, healthy distractions, and enjoyable ventures

3. Take a tranquilizer

Because in-the-moment soothing can calm jittery nerves
So, I turn to the 4-7-8 breathing technique: inhale-hold-exhale—4 times

4. Adopt a broad perspective

Because it lets us be with stress, not be our stress, thus easing its hold on us
So, I mentally step back, observe, and make room for stress

5. Allow my upsets

Because common practice—pushing away upsets—just adds to our misery
So, I open myself to feelings, even when I dislike them, and just let them be

6. Give myself a hug

Because self-compassion takes the edge off feeling crummy
So, I offer kindness to myself just as I would hug a fragile friend

So, how about you? Might you consider a COVID survival plan? Given your unique values, circumstances, needs, and leanings, what daily steps might you take to maintain your steadiness, open your parachute, and survive in these scary times?

By Jerry Murphy

Jerry Murphy is a member of the Alzheimer’s Association Caregivers Support Group at Cadbury Commons run by our social worker Lisa Walts.
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