How have you been able to cope?

We have been experiencing so much in the world; between COVID and Racial injustice. How have you been able to cope? Have you reached a place of what sustains you and what does not?

I have no difficulty amusing myself all day. I have a stack of library books, my plague year craft projects, and all of the internet to read. If I got desperately bored I have a tablet to watch prime video.

I was counting on a walk today but awesome partner has to work and do taxes.

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Been staying home, social distancing, reading lots and educating myself on race and so many of the current issues, providing support to other TBI survivors helping them navigate health care and insurance issues, running, walking, taking naps. It’s not a lot different from my norm of brain Injury except I can’t volunteer or work, but it has really showed me how much I need to slow down and pace myself in my normal non COVID life. I have been recording on lots of podcasts too and having my psych visits on zoom:)

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I stay busy by thinking of new ways to advocate, started taking a couple of Zoom classes, I enjoy reading and I make sure I get out in nature and walk, meditate, etc
I have also been working on other projects in my community - in the process of getting HS Alumni that we’re in war and kia names on our old HS Veterans Memorial Wall.
I do miss traveling to see my daughter and granddaughter out of state, but I have remained busy.

I appreciate your response! Do you find that reading the internet and being on social media, can be a blessing and a curse? I have had to take a few breaks from it because it was overwhelming between what was being reported on covid and racial injustices that were taking place.

Thank you for responding! Meditation is definitely something I started doing towards the end of my workouts. Also, even though I am a woman of color I still like to further educate myself on what is going on. When did you realize that that was something you needed to do? What steps did you take to start your podcast?

Thank you for responding! Meditation is something I started doing towards the end of my workouts and it has been super helpful, especially when I am consistent with it. It is good that you are able to keep busy even in a time like this. What other projects have you been working on?

I just wrote a long blog about how I am coping with the pandemic:

I have found that I have coped with this new way of life pretty good. I think it’s because I’ve been used to restricted living for the past 5 years. For me the lifting of restrictions and being able to go out and about again scares me a little more as there is so much more to consider when leaving the house than there was before Covid.
It’s all such a learning curve.

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As I was the primary caregiver to a parent who lived with a rare dementia (front-temporal dementia or FTD), this social distancing is utter cake for me (my father has long since passed on, well before COVID-19, so it’s way easier to just look out for me).

People in the dementia (Alzheimers is but 1 type) community & their caregivers are used to living at the margins of society without a pandemic. Most ‘healthy’ people don’t feel comfortable being around people with ‘brain failure’ or bother much with learning how to care for them or actually support those doing the day to day caregiving so we learn to do for ourselves more than many people in other illness communities have to.

This time feels weirdly normal to me though many others are freaking out. I learned to live this way more than a decade ago. And because I’m no longer a primary caregiver I have TIME & opportunities galore to do my own thing (I absolutely love this).

The only thing I’m not wild about is wearing my face shield, it gets hot in summer & on mine the headband chafes my forehead if I have to wear it for too long, but usually that’s only necessary when I’m grocery shopping & I’m not in the habit of doing that too often. But it otherwise works okay.

If you live rural like I do, all stores & shopping are all some distance drive away, shopping with a person living with dementia is always challenging (their health issues & behaviors can vary wildly from day to day) so you learn to start & keep up a pantry. You keep extra food, water, medicine, health products, paper products, cleaning products, etc on hand. You also keep a supply of morale boosters handy, for me those are books, DVDs, cards & games, things for my hobbies, food treats (if my father were still here those food treats might be more suited to his palate, now they’re suited to mine only) & little luxuries. Some things I bought for my ‘someday enjoyment’ I’m now busy experiencing (my time was not my own during caregiving but now it is).

I live surrounded by nature so that’s a perk of the lifestyle. I just get to experience it more & at a more leisurely pace right now.

I was already in the habit of keeping in touch with ‘my people’ few though they are via email, phone calls & other socially distanced means so that continues. I’m even hearing from people I’ve not heard from in years so that’s been cool & fun. It’s also been cool to now be the calmer, wiser, less-stressed one.

Long long ago I took classes online through The Great Courses Plus, they have some excellent ones on topics like stress reduction, self care, resilience, meditation/mindfulness, aging better, cognitive behavior therapy. Those techniques have served me well long before this pandemic, now they are deeply ingrained good habits so it’s pretty easy for me to get through what for many others is challenging. I think it’s like $10 per month to be a member there, you can stream their courses online (though with the older ones there may be DVDs or VHS tapes available). Check around for coupons, free trials & discount offers, the prices should be comparable to what people pay to stream Netflix or Amazon Prime Video monthly.

I found that when people living with dementia get to a certain stage of ‘brain failure’ it’s counter-productive to keep up with the news, so I’m long into the habit of not consuming much of it. Public radio & public TV have pretty good & calm coverage of COVID-19 & racial justice issues so I get my news there & not from social media.

As a former virologist I know which websites & experts to seek out, so from time to time I catch up there. I no longer feel the compelling need to keep up at being constantly informed & a lot of what the news media peddles is ‘emotional heroin’ as a friend calls it, so it’s probably healthier to be a bit less knowledgable about current events right now.

My personal grief therapy work has also served me well. I have been able to offer comfort & a way forward to others who are grieving losses (people who have died, jobs/economic losses, the loss of certain ways of doing things). I’m grateful that none of this is new to me, now would be a very hard time to be learning these skills because the demand for them is so high.

I am still mentoring fellow caregivers from a distance (that was true pre COVID-19 as well),

I was always into emergency preparedness so this has been a chance to really test my skills & supplies (much worked, some didn’t, some needed tweaking, there are a few areas in which I have sought to make improvements, there are a few new areas to grow in).

I expect this ‘strange situation’ to go on for some time (if the H1N1 pandemic of 1918-1920 is a semi-decent model we’ve got more months to as much as a year or two more to go through) & that’s okay. I’ve learned patience & resilience so I can thrive not just survive or struggle constantly.

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Thank you for sharing your blog, I really enjoyed it. I feel like virtual online classes have become so beneficial to many. My coworker/friend, is one of the movement teachers at my job and in her personal time she uploads dance videos to bring forth more positivity and happiness, even through such heavy times and from time to time, I watch her videos and dance along to stay active and to increase some positivity into my life. I say all that to say, keep up with it and enjoy it because it is indeed a blessing. And love the fact that you mentioned DIYs. They have become a new way of life, lol.

I am glad that you have been able to adjust. That is amazing! I know for me it has been such a challenge because when I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, I like to go out and clear my head. But after awhile, I started to adjust. What coping skills would you say work for you?

I want to thank you for sharing your story with me, I truly appreciate it! I also have give you your virtual flowers because I can only imagine what it is like being a caregiver and some of the stress that you may endure. I am glad that you have found ways to keep your head above water and I hope that it continues to be beneficial to you.

peace & blessings,

S.BULLARD :innocent:

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Healthier social media / smart phone use tips from the Center For Humane Technology here: