You just realized that the trash goes out more than you do. Seriously. We’ve all been sentenced with house arrest. Disconnected from that percolating social world around us. Most of us were quite unprepared for the feelings of loneliness that accompanied our self-isolation at this time. Remember when having to ask a stranger to get you something from the top shelf of the supermarket was your biggest problem? Well, here’s the two-hour waiting line again. When we were told: “The best things in life are worth waiting for” – we did not have tomatoes or onions in mind. Oh, and a free tip: The easiest way to shop with kids – is not to. And I’m the only one at the supermarket trying to get the automatic door to acknowledge my existence? Truth be told, nearly 80% of the food on the shelves in the supermarket did not even exist 100 years ago. So back to baking our own bread…

You’re binging again. You eat the entire bag of chips in one sitting, so you won’t be tempted to eat the chips later. Please remember: The difference between who you are and who you want to be – is what you do. If you’ve become a world-famous chef during this pandemic, try cooking or baking some healthful comfort foods, as well. You don’t want to become a member of the Quarantine 15, by gaining 15 pounds. I know. You’ve been on a diet for two weeks, and all you lost was 14 days. Get out of the Fitness protection program and do any kind of movement or exercise that you enjoy. Do your workout even if you feel lethargic and lazy. Reach out to loved ones and friends even if your loneliness tells you not to. Please do take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live in.

Feeling down in the dumps? Oh, you finally receive a text. Yay. “Your Verizon bill is now available.” Oy. So you call your own cell phone today just to hear your ringtone. How on earth can you break out of all of this? For starters, you must have a plan each and every day, sweet friends. What’s your game plan for today? Aim to do a few things. Make a list, if need be. Sometimes the worst place you can be is in your own head. Do not lose your sense of self. Remember, we are all born with the same set of emotions. Pay attention to them and by all means, nourish yourself, your friends, and your loved ones with time and attention.

Endless, incremental updates online. You divide your time between Googling “CV” and utter nonsense. One moment you believe you are perfectly fine; and one cough later, you are convinced that symptoms have arrived. Our brains are designed to pay attention to pain and danger. That includes troubling feelings. Try to accept that you have a feeling, even if it is unsettling; without overreacting to it. Notice your self-deflating thoughts. Gently remind yourself that feelings are not facts.

We’re all a tad agitated, anxious, and apprehensive. The family is jumping up and down on your last nerve? Well, look at it this way: If you were all alone, it would always be your turn to do the dishes. Your level of sarcasm has gotten to the point where you don’t even know if you’re kidding or not. If you’re too high-strung, try not to take your sweet self so seriously. Y’all know what I believe: Humor is humanity’s free coping mechanism. Sprinkle it everywhere. Yes, even now. Especially now.

I bet some of you actually miss not wearing pajamas or athletic wear every day. Make a future list of all the things you plan to do when this madness ends. Perhaps loneliness used to be a passing emotion, and now it morphed into a recurring sense of desperation. It is crucial that you safeguard yourselves, and that you have a strategy. You are not alone in feeling dismal, dreary, or depressed at this time. What are your “trouble” times of the day? Mornings, evenings, weekends? Please make plans for those times as best as you can to avoid shutting down or going “numb.” No problems are solved without sure and determined action.

When winding down in the evening, try to do something meaningful to feed your spirit. If music is your refuge, go ahead and crawl into the space between the notes and unwind. Light scented candles, provided you remember to blow them out, please. There is nothing like a steaming cup of herbal tea and honey to help you relax. So have a cup of “positivi-tea.” Some days, your only coping skills are coffee, tea, and denial. That’s okay, too.

Ah. Didn’t you love those days when your only problem was “tea or coffee”? Heck, sometimes I go hours without drinking coffee. It’s called sleeping. But do make yourself a tea party. Then, please try to get some deep sleep. Erratic sleep patterns wreak havoc on your body and mind. The body produces mood balancing chemicals while we are in the deep stages of sleep. So stop bragging about how you are running on empty, please.

Strength comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t. Remember, sweet friends, sometimes issues reach deeper than we are able to handle. You do not have to tackle it all on your own. Please feel free to reach out. As always, I am right here.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at