Reduce Your Expectations During COVID-19

Misery loves company, and, oh boy, has it not been plentiful lately. It feels as if everyone I talk to is down in the dumps. My clients are going ape shit (I am a mental health counselor). My loved ones call me constantly checking in on me and sharing morbid updates. My friends moan and groan about societal restrictions infringing upon their lifestyles.

Allow me to be frank. This shit blows. It sucks worse than a….I will let your imagination fill in that blank.

However, this does not mean we have to bathe in the misery. What I am coming to find out from others and even myself is that we expect too much during these stressful times. Something as simple as grocery shopping became an Olympic sport. For instance, once a week I order groceries online through Whole Foods to be delivered directly to my house. What do you think everyone and their mother is doing right now to avoid human contact? I checked availability for online delivery and the next available slot was two weeks out. Okay, that was not going to work. I drove by my backup grocery store. It was the day after my state placed a restriction on grocery stores only allowing 50% maximum capacity. There was a line at least thirty carts deep. I drove an additional twenty minutes out of my way to a smaller store that I only stepped foot in once before to use their bathroom.

A jog turned into a marathon.

Factor in additional “cushion” time. We live in an era of immediate gratification, but not for the time being. Deliveries will take an extra day or two to arrive. Wait times might be longer than expected. Expect to be on hold longer than usual for customer service calls. A lot of businesses are short staffed, and resources have been significantly reduced. More people tapping into fewer resources means more time to pump out products/results.

Do not expect everyone to be all cheery and happy go lucky. Like I said, it feels like almost everyone around me is miserable. I said it in my last two posts, and I will say it again. This outbreak is a collective traumatic experience. It affects everyone to some degree both directly and indirectly. Approach individuals with the mindset that they are experiencin g stressful times as well. Talk to people how you want to be spoken to during these times.

Utilize radical acceptance. This strategy comes from a specific form of therapy called dialectical behavioral therapy. It assist in being able to see situations as they are on the go. If you feel like it is something that might be beneficial, feel free to check out my post on it here:

Do not be so hard on yourself. I saw a post floating around on social media about using this time productively. I cannot find the original tweet, but it said something alone the lines of “If you do not have a new hobby or side hustle by the time this is over, did you really use your time wisely?” I hated reading this. Many individuals already put enough pressure on themselves or literally do not have the physical, mental, or emotional capability to handle these stressful times. With that being said, do not beat yourself up. Take a break from time to time. Realize that it is okay to not be okay right now.

Take care and stay safe out there.

-The Caring Counselor


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