Wellness During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Kristen-King

By Kristen King, MBA, MPS, Certified WRAP Facilitator, Advocates for Human Potential, Inc.

To say that now is a weird time would be an understatement. A month ago, it was business as usual. Now we have entire countries shut down, schools and businesses closed, and people sheltering in place and isolating to try to slow the spread of a highly contagious virus that is making its way around the world. If you’re feeling pretty freaked out at the moment, you’re not the only one.

As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re in uncharted territory. However you’re feeling right now, it’s okay. Fear, worry, anxiety, anger, grief, loneliness, panic, exhaustion, frustration, annoyance—they’re all on the table and they’re all normal responses to this abnormal situation. We don’t know how long this period of uncertainty will last, but we do know we can take responsibility for our own wellness even during a global health crisis.

There’s a lot we can’t control right now, but we can take ownership of the things we can control. If you don’t yet have a WRAP, we invite you to create one now. If you do have a WRAP, we encourage you to update it to support yourself during the global COVID-19 pandemic, when routines have changed and priorities may have shifted.

Ideas for Updating Your WRAP

To create or update your WRAP, you can get the free WRAP app for iOS or Android and make your WRAP on your smartphone or tablet. Or you can create it on a computer or in a notebook using the following headings and prompts to guide you.

Use these links to jump to the section you want to read for ideas on updating your WRAP:

>> Wellness Tools

>> Daily Plan

>> Stressors

>> Early Warning Signs

>> When Things Are Breaking Down or Getting Much Worse

>> Crisis Plan & Post-Crisis Plan

If you are in the United States and need extra support right now, you can also request a free copy of the WRAP On the Go and Crisis Plan On the Go pamphlets. While supplies last, we will mail these two pocket tools free of charge within the United States. Request your copies online; more details on the request form. This offer is for individuals only. For organizations, please visit our bookstore to order WRAP On the Go and Crisis Plan On the Go in bulk at a discount to support your team.

We’re also sharing ideas on Facebook, so please join the conversation!

Wellness Tools

Our wellness tools are the things we do and strategies we use to help ourselves stay well and life the life we want to live. Many of us have tools that we use in the community that are no longer safe or available due to the pandemic—fitness classes, church services, volunteering, peer support groups, school, work, and more—so we need to identify tools that we can use during quarantine, sheltering in place, and social distancing.

>> What are some of the things I’m currently doing to help myself feel well, stay well, and live the way I want to live—things I can do in my home without other people physically present? Ideas:

  • Read (even if you don’t have books on hand, many libraries offer free access to e-books and audiobooks for library cardholders via mobile phone, computer, or e-reader)
  • Write (journal, work on that book you’ve always wanted to write, pen letters to friends, etc.)
  • Exercise (there are thousands of free videos on YouTube for every fitness level and preference, with no equipment required)
  • Call, text, email, or video chat with a supporter
  • Watch movies or TV shows
  • Look at art or watch performances through the Internet (many museums, theater/music companies, and rock/pop artists around the world are streaming works of art and performances for free; examples include museums with virtual tours, concerts, Metropolitan Opera free online)
  • Do crossword puzzles or other brain games
  • Play cards alone or with the people I live with
  • Stay hydrated
  • Wash hands and clean surfaces frequently
  • Get extra sleep

>> What are some other things I might like to try in order to stay well and minimize loneliness as I continue with social distancing? Ideas:

  • Use Facetime, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or other communication platforms to stay connected to people I can’t see in person (the Marco Polo app for iOS and Android allows you to record and send video messages back and forth with friends if it’s hard to talk live, for example)
  • Find a virtual 12-step meeting or other support meeting I can attend from my computer
  • Join webinars or other online activities I can use to be social while staying in my home
  • Take free online classes from major universities from home

What other ideas would you add? Please share on our Facebook page.

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Daily Plan

For most of us, our regular routines have been partly or completely disrupted by COVID-19. We may need to create a new routine for our days during isolation/quarantine measures.

>> What am I like when I’m well? How do I want to feel as I navigate this pandemic and maintain my wellness?

>> What do I need to do every day to stay well or keep on track with my goals while sheltering in place or social distancing during the pandemic? What do I need to know to protect my physical health right now?

>> What are some things I might need to do on some days? How often and when do I need to do them? What strategies can I use to minimize close contact with others and still get my needs met (e.g., getting food, medication, necessities)?

>> What does a typical day look like when I’m taking care of my wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic? In other words, what is my new routine during isolation/quarantine?

What other ideas or questions would you add? Please share on our Facebook page.

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Stressors

It could seem a little silly to list specific stressors when there’s a global pandemic happening, but within that there are individual issues we may need to address, as well as the stressors we were aware of before COVID-19 came on the scene. There may also be new stressors given the current circumstances. As always, the more aware we are of our stressors, the better we can respond when they come up.

For many of us, loneliness and isolation are major stressors. Isolation and social distancing are also incredibly important to slow the spread of COVID-19, which protects us and our communities. If these are stressors for you, what wellness tools can you use to make an action plan for combating loneliness?

In general:

>> What new stressors do I want to be aware of?

>> What existing stressors may need extra attention right now?

>> What can I do to limit my exposure to stressors? (For instance, limiting media consumption can help reduce anxiety for some of us, whereas others may need to stay extremely current on news to feel well.)

>> What social distancing–friendly wellness tools can I use in my stressor action plans?

What ideas or questions would you add? Please share on our Facebook page.

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Early Warning Signs

Early warning signs are changes in the way we think, act, or feel. They are signs that we need to take action before things get worse. In a situation like the one we’re in now, some things that may have been early warning signs in the past (isolating, staying home from work, building a stockpile of supplies, etc.) are needed for all of us who are able to do them. So, our old lists of warning signs may not apply right now.

>> What early warning signs do I want to be aware of, given the current situation?

>> Are new early warning signs coming up for me?

>> What social distancing–friendly wellness tools can I use in my early warning sign action plans?

What other ideas or questions would you add? Please share on our Facebook page.

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When Things Are Breaking Down or Getting Much Worse

When things are breaking down, we could be on the brink of a crisis. As with early warning signs, some of our signs that things are breaking down may be part of everyday life during isolation and social distancing. We may need to update our plan for responding to prevent a crisis.

>> What signs that things are breaking down do I want to be aware of, given the current situation?

>> Are new signs that things are breaking down coming up for me?

>> What social distancing–friendly wellness tools can I use in my action plan for when things are breaking down?

What other ideas or questions would you add? Please share on our Facebook page.

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Crisis Plan & Post-Crisis Plan

With limitations on social contact to minimize the spread of COVID-19, some of the support we rely on in a crisis may be delayed or unavailable. Now is a good time to adjust our plan for the current situation so we can make sure we have the support we need if we experience a personal crisis.

>> Do I need to update contact instructions for my supporters?

>> Are there new tasks I need others to cover for me during a crisis? Are there any tasks I no longer need support with given current circumstances?

>> Do I need to add special instructions in case I must strictly quarantine due to COVID-19? Do I need to add special instructions in case someone in my home must strictly quarantine?

>> What other concerns might I want to plan for?

>> What support may I need after a crisis passes?

What other ideas or questions would you add? Please share on our Facebook page.

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Remember, if you’re in the United States and need extra support right now, you can also request a free copy of the WRAP On the Go and Crisis Plan On the Go pamphlets. While supplies last, we will mail these two pocket tools free of charge within the U.S. Request your copies online; more details on the request form. This offer is for individuals only. For organizations, please visit our bookstore to order WRAP On the Go and Crisis Plan On the Go in bulk at a discount to support your team.

We’re also sharing ideas on Facebook, so please join the conversation! Staying connected is more important now than ever. We want you to know that even though you may be by yourself right now, you’re not alone. This community is here, and we’re all in this together—even if we’re coming together separately in our own homes. 😉

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