How Are You Coping?

August 5, 2020   50 Comments

I wish I could talk to each of you and ask you how you are doing. I run this sunny corner of the internet but I know we are in a storm.

How Are You Coping?

To be frank, I am finding that it is increasingly difficult for me to be sunny or feel useful. Yes, I am here sharing zucchini recipes but given the crisis - my work feels a little silly.

It is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry during a global pandemic - duh. The question is how much of these emotions can one handle without descending into mental illness.

My answer is about 4 1/2 months. It took me about 135 days before I became overwhelmed by negative emotions.

I held off depression, a mental illness that I have had before, with coping mechanisms but then it got me. I feel listless, unmotivated, tense, and deeply sad - it is becoming impossible to shake.

I know I am not alone - more than 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.

I wonder about all of you. Are some of you (like me) starting to feel yourself crack from the collective pain we are in? I don’t think there is anything to be ashamed about and of course this crisis is tough for everyone - but we can share.

Talking to people you trust can help.

I am now talking to you, my dear reader. I know I must maintain a healthy lifestyle but I bought donuts, ice cream, and potato chips at the store yesterday. They all looked like they needed to go into my cart.

I know that sleep is important - but I stayed up binge watching TV until 12:00 AM last night.

Yesterday, I made it to the gym for socially distanced weight training and I shared my feelings with a good friend (some positive steps).

But, I know I need to get help because I am feeling so low (and I bought junk food :).

I will begin anti-depressants ASAP but I wonder about therapy. What can I say but the obvious? My grief over the deaths and the pandemic spread is real. My worry about my kids’ education and my immune compromised neighbor is real. etc etc etc

I do have some skills that I can employ to manage my emotions. Mainly, I try to stay in the moment and try to be grateful. I will work on sleep, healthy eating, exercise, and reaching out to friends and family.

I want to offer the comment section below as a place for you to share how you are doing. Maybe it will help to write it down and share it with all of us. Worth a try?

In addition, I want to share this page on Coping with Stress from the CDC. One article is entitled “Pandemics can be stressful” - you think? There are some good resources on the page.

How are you doing? Please share.

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 50 )

I'll start. I'm okay but I have been working all along although partly from home. My spouse and I are both employed and are introverts with no family nearby. Thus we are accustomed to communicating at a distance. It is difficult not to be with our friends (we live in a hotspot) or do any of our group activities but we keep in touch with our groups and have embraced the things we can do (gardening for him, reading for me). We both cook and bake and thus haven't changed our eating habits much these days.

I love that you post food things and recipes. One pleasure I can still embrace is reading about food, then experimenting in the kitchen. So your zucchini recipes, etc, are most welcome and it makes my day when I see a new post from you.

Due to food allergies, I rarely eat much in the way of processed food but there is one brand of potato chips that doesn't set off my immune system. I was insanely happy (in more ordinary times all out of proportion but in these times perhaps a more reasonable reaction) when I saw a seasonal flavor of this brand of potato chip I last had during a large group event last year. Not only did I really enjoy the flavor but I enjoyed the memories of an activity I love but will likely not engage in any time soon. Because it was a food memory and not strictly an event memory, it didn't trigger all the sadness that comes with not being able to do what we love. So I bought a bag of the chips and have been adding a few to my lunch each day. Perhaps not physically healthy but definitely a boost to my mental health.

There definitely have been difficult moments and I have to stay conscious of maintaining good health habits. But I have also been trying to give myself the same grace I extend to others. It definitely isn't easy but so far it has been mostly possible.

If you feel the need for therapy, go for it. Sometimes talking with a professional can help in different ways than just talking with friends or family. I have not felt that need but I also have friends with whom I check in regularly for all our sakes and we have identified local resources in the event that one or more of us needs help. Just knowing there is help available has been sufficient so far but in the event that changes, we have tried to be prepared.

Thank you for this opportunity to be open. Although we don't know each other, I consider this space to be part of my food community and I am grateful for all who are here.

YEs, yes, yes. I was doing okay until last week. I went into my office to pick up some stuff as I am not going to be going back in for months (if ever). My boss who I have not seen since March is working in the building again and he came into my office to ask me something.The short, positive interaction I had with him for some reason caused me anxiety and still does. I think it is the realization that I won't be physically interacting with any of my coworkers and what does that mean? Before that I was thinking of it but not to the anxiety levels I am now. Instead of using this time to watch new tv shows or get caught up on movies I’ve missed, I’ve been rewatching shows from the 50s-60s-70s. I’ve read that’s an anxiety coping mechanism. I have been swimming every day that I can in my condo’s outdoor pool so at least that is one good thing.

After being home for eight weeks ,I was feeling pretty down . I was cooking ,baking and my favourite reading . Not planning meals became easy , now back to work feeling better but I know that the storm of Pandemic is not over . Be safe everyone . Here in Canada 🇨🇦 it is better . Have a great day 😀😀😀😀

Thank you for sharing what you and many of us are going through.. This is never talked to enough. I don't turn the TV on during the day. I can't stand the crazy of it. I worry also about all the everything going on.

THANK YOU FOR SHARING what you are going through. Keep this forum open to always do that

Your not alone in this struggle. !!

I guess I have pretty good coping skills...I find happiness and peace in small things; a sunny day, a beautiful lawn, flowers, fresh air and the health and well being of my family and friends. I try to study the numbers and look behind the headlines. We were in Florida for the winter and came back to Michigan in June. I noticed that the media shouts the cumulative numbers multiple times a day about how bad things are - however they leave out so many other details. The testing facts, the fact that people get tested repeatedly, the death rates (people are dying of other things but often it is labeled 'COVID') when it's not. A man was killed in a motorcycle accident and the death certificate named the cause of death as COVID19...because he had tested positive.

When I hear these things I feel less confident in the sensationalism of the media and that seed of doubt that we're not being told the truth about everything helps me. I try not to take everything to heart...however I'm not foolhardy and I do wear a mask whenever I go out, wash my hands diligently, use hand-sanitizer frequently when I'm out; minimize being around other people, avoid crowds and sanitize frequently touched surfaces in my home.

I'm as frustrated with my diet as I was this time last I can't say that I'm doing any worse or better due to the social/political storms going on around me.

I have worked from home for 11.5 years so that's not really any different than it's been for over a decade...

Try to find your solace, what makes you happy - look for it. Sending my best!

Please don't stop your wonderful blog! Look forward to it! Am I depressed: Yes! Am I bored: yes!!! Can't travel and eat out! Getting tired of cooking! Husband spouting political rants and raves. He's "the sky's falling" (admittedly so) and I'm the "glass is half-full." Since I'm from the soda & tv generation, watching certain series over and over! Gilmore Girls, Little House on the Prairie and Mike and Molly my favorites. Yes, the munchies are from boredom, and I have my favorites. Everyone has their coping mechanisms. Need to get back to Silver Sneakers! OK; have had my say..Thank you!!!God Bless You all! Hope everyone out there stays safe & healthy!

Receiving your Snack Girl emails is a definite plus during these times. And thanks for being so open and honest. I’m a pretty positive person, but I am an extrovert and having so many activities curtailed was quite depressing. At least I am back at the gym now and have my dancing sessions via Zoom. But now it’s a worry for schools returning, my daughter is a teacher, and fear for shutdowns due to a second wave. I try not to think about it. We have to just take things a day at a time and find some laughter every day. Stay strong 🤗.

So good of you to reach out to your readers! I’m experiencing this whole pandemic similar to the grief stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Sometimes all the stages in one day! 😂 I try and be grateful for what we have-food, a comfortable home, a pool, a beautiful new granddaughter, work that I love (I’m a therapist and can work from home) What I miss most is time alone and time with friends. But my husband and I are trying new recipes. Some new rituals: every lunch time we watch reruns of The Office. Laughing really helps. He’s not working and walks every day. I’m seeing more people than ever and find it difficult to get exercise in during the week. He’s lost weight, I’ve gained a bit. Sigh. I try also to think of what generations before us have endured and know they had it so much worse during times of war or crisis. We will get through this....Thank you for connecting with us.💚

Thank you for your honest post. I lost my mom on March 8. Two days later my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. I was away from home until Memorial Day assisting my dad with diagnostics and radiation. Finally home and my 14 year old dog was failing miserably and he died in June. All of these stressful events have taken a toll on now my marriage. My response was anger and my husband decided he needed a break so he moved out. Almost impossible to see a mental health professions and I do not want to do a video chat. Sad state our world is in. I know I’m not alone in wishing it would improve. I keep wondering what’s next? Killer Bees? Trying to muddle through. Again, thanks for sharing some “real” in what otherwise is a platform for fake.

I understand Lisa, and you need to know your blogs are helping me cope. You still give me new cooking ideas and I've been cooking since I was 3 years old.

I know you did some marathons. I have never done that but movement and exercise is one of the best antidepressants that we have. how about some sort of Marathon? An individual challenge? My martial arts group has done push-up and sit-up challenges and posting their videos on Instagram. But I know you could develop a marathon challenge for all of us. And maybe include zoodles somehow! Zoodles just make people happy; is such a funny name! I just love your blog!

Sending you a hug, Snack Girl! (Air hug, to be safe...)

And while I’m at it, air hugs to all of us. I am far from a digital human but I have definitely found some daily strength in continuing to read selected blogs- yours is always on my list!

Take care, everybody xo

Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been having the same feelings of late and like you been trying to cope with daily exercise, getting the right amount of sleep and eating properly. It's hard but when I see that others are struggling, I know I am not alone. Thank you for sharing your experience. We are all in this together and it's so good to talk about our feelings and know that it's normal to feel depressed and sad at times. Wishing you a wonderful day :)

I’ve been very fortunate bc all my kids were home for 4 months, we were quarantining together and it was like catching up. My oldest has since left and will be back at college(military academy)so I worry about her situation. The weather here for us has been unbelievable so that has made it easier as well to be outside and get exercise.

I strongly believe if I hadn’t changed to a keto lifestyle over 2 years ago this whole pandemic would have made me very depressed. I’ve been intermittent fasting and doing pretty well. At the beginning I did feel as though I was drinking alcohol more frequently...and it really started to interfere with my sleep so I cut way back.

This year has certainly been a learning one. I try to see the good in the time I have. I just bought a book called ‘this is your brain on food’ talks about gluten causing depression and anxiety which I def believe. I’m excited to see other things I can eat to help. I realize how good I do seem to be handling this and I have started telling my husband who is an ER doctor ‘things can always be worse’...just turn on the news it’s crazy!!!

Our school district has decided to start online learning for the first 30 days which a lot of parents are unhappy with, so that will be a change soon. I will have two kids from college and the other from I’m sad for them to be living this during what should be a happy time in their lives. I’m just trying to stay positive and I know the food I eat is definitely helping!!

These are very stressful times. A world wide pandemic is a lot to deal with. I thought I was going to need professional help after 89 days away from work. Then we got called back to work. What helped me was going out and doing something- walking, finding new recipes, art(even though I’m not very good at creating), talking to friends and family. Also keeping my days as regular/normal as possible helped. One more thing, things are slowly getting better. We will get through this situation. We have to deal with it, and one day we will be able to look back on it as something that has occurred in the past.

Good morning! I know it's hard. I was feeling down, too, and knew I had to make some changes. You know, keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result is madness, right? So, I started Noom (changed up from WW for a little bit); bought new running shoes, and got outside to run. I started a project with building a shed (so far I have only broken ground, but it's my long term project so I keep reading on construction ideas and I've never built anything like that before so it's a challenge); I started finding very old Singer sewing machines and fixing them like they were shiny and new (a few I sold on eBay for a little profit); I vowed to only sew my own clothes for a year (I'm the worst seamstress ever and last sewed in 1980 in Home Economics class); I got yarn for a project; and, finally, I downloaded all the best sellers on the NY Times Best Seller list to read. So, keeping busy. Additionally, I'm Facetiming with my family who is 1000 miles away in Pennsylvania (I'm in Florida) and I've kept working. So, all in all, I've been super busy and that really helps. And, still, I keep cheating on my diet. Oh well. There're only so many hours in a day. Get some sleep Snack Girl. It will make a world of difference. Then you can wake up early, get some workout in, and post some amazing recipes for those of us who struggle in the kitchen (I am a horrible cook and if my husband were not home, I'd survive on PB&J sandwiches every day. He is a wonderful cook, but not for a healthy lifestyle.) So cheers to you Snack Girl! Keep going. Keep plodding if you have to, but keep going. You'll see the light soon. We love you!

Thank you for opening your heart to us. I’ve been reading your daily emails for a long time. But, until today, I never knew the real person behind those recipes.

Opening your heart and struggles to all your readers could not be easy.

I, too, have gained weight and struggle to remember how easy it was to lose my initial weight. I bash myself each morning when I weigh myself.

We will get through- day by day.♥️

This is totally why you are one of my favorite bloggers!!! You are real and you CARE!! it comes out in each and every one of your posts!! THANK YOU! I had this very conversation with my daughter yesterday. She has been taking antidepressants for a year now and she finally found the one (after trying several with her Dr’s help( that works for her and she gives it total credit for her ability to get thru this pandemic with no highs or lows or anxiety or sadness. I have had anxiety...worry and sadness and told her I feel I start to sink mentally then am strong enough to bounce out of it and she said I need to discuss this with my Dr because she is concerned one single episode could sink me mentally —especially my anxiety issue) in this pandemic. And now I am now beginning to take a low dosage anxiety, depression medication —as she said with ‘no shame’ but gratitude there is help out there with a phone call to the Dr. . As for social distancing... I limit myself to quick grocery and farmers market runs and we carry out occasionally . I walk at the park when I can..being outside helps. I miss traveling, beach trips, and seeing my friends and HUGS!!!! I still feel ‘frozen’ to a standstill of not even starting with cleaning and home projects that I should and want to be accomplishing tho... and my wanting to cry every time I walk out of the grocery after diligently wearing my mask once I get into my car and take my mask off—it always hits me how strange it feels to stay so distant to my fellow human beings.... and I haven’t even touched on my WW journey!!!

Saying all of this, I an still determined to rise above these feelings and get thru this!!!!!!!!❤️

Thank you, thank you for talking about this topic that most people avoid like the plague. I am not doing well. I suffer from anxiety and this has definitely upped it. I am an introvert by nature, so working from home was wonderful. I did my job, avoided too much news, and cooked three meals a day. Wonderful. Returned to work and the anxiety went through the roof. Also, I live above my parents. My father expects more than I can give and hasn't yet accepted that I am not a superhero. I struggle between guilt and people's expectations. This gives me the impetus to seek some professional help. I want to do right by everyone, but I need to do for myself otherwise I will be no good to anyone. Thanks for listening and for bringing this out into the open. Blessings to you and yours!

Thank you for your honest post. I lost my mom on March 8. Two days later my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. I was away from home until Memorial Day assisting my dad with diagnostics and radiation. Finally home and my 14 year old dog was failing miserably and he died in June. All of these stressful events have taken a toll on now my marriage. My response was anger and my husband decided he needed a break so he moved out. Almost impossible to see a mental health professions and I do not want to do a video chat. Sad state our world is in. I know I’m not alone in wishing it would improve. I keep wondering what’s next? Killer Bees? Trying to muddle through. Again, thanks for sharing some “real” in what otherwise is a platform for fake.

Dear Lisa and fellow Snack Girls, thank you for your comments. I share so Many of your feelings and experiences. One different element is that my husband and i retired to Costa Rica last year. We had planned to save money, return to Florida and return to sea the kids and grandkids several times a year. So we are adjusting 2 retirement, living in a very small house, one bedroom and living in a foreign country and learning the language. We are so glad that we don't have to worried about work. But it is a transition. When the covid-19 came, we are are in a country that takes it seriously and has National Healthcare. So it has been contained pretty well, but when the country opened up again this nation of huggers and inter generational households has had a spike. My husband is addicted to the news and like I say, I can't getaway from the TV news in the small house. But I go for a walk or out on the porch and we watch comedies on Netflix. Lisa, I recommend you try talk therapy. I'm not sure that antidepressants will work if you are not clinically depressed, just situationally depressed. My best friend in Florida was depressed when her husband died and some other things happen, and finally took my suggestion and went to therapy. It is helping her a lot. And your

Blog is helping a lot too. I am having fun trying new recipes, with very limited equipment and Access to American products (it took me a month to find Hershey cocoa powder, they had it with sugar for hot chocolate) We are exercising a lot, swimming in pool and ocean,and biking. I walk/ran a virtual 5k with my college alumni all over the World. So keep your recipes coming- you ARE helpimg us!

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