Today, I want to give you some insight into one of the psychological processes that a lot of us are experiencing right now. I call it the COVID Deprivation vs. Depression Juggle. Let me be clear, I’m not here to tell you how to get through this year.

Call me crazy though, when I heard we were going to go into Phase 2, I thought Phase 2 might have an end date to it. But the farther we get into 2020, the more it appears we will be in Phase 2 for a long time. I’m noticing that a lot of us are depriving ourselves of the things that fulfill us, because those activities have some risk of exposure. But when we start to deprive ourselves consistently, we begin to feel depressed due to the lack of fulfillment, stimulation, and variety. I think a lot of us are trying to balance how to take care of our needs while staying safe.

If this juggle resonates with you, I suggest trying to make strategic choices. Go for the activities that are going to give you a big emotional pay off, and avoid the activities that are going to give you a small emotional pay off. For example, if everything outside of my house comes with some risk, I am going to continue to avoid going to the store and have items delivered. For me, running an errand like going to the store has always had a small emotional pay off. On the other hand, I did just allow my daughter to go to a sleepover over the weekend. I let her see her friends for the first time in months, because it was the biggest pay out possible for her.

Be on the lookout for experiences that give you a larger reward, and eliminate the ones that aren’t going to do much for you anyways. If this concept resonates with you, I’m going to encourage you to use it with your partner and kids. Balancing deprivation and depression is different for all of us. Generally, as adults, we are more resilient than the young people in our lives. So I want you to be on the look out for what they are missing, what they are craving for, and where they are hurting. I’m not suggesting the solution is to spoil them and say “yes” to every request, but I do want to encourage you to remember that getting through this virus in the long haul may be a lot harder on them than it is on you.

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