How to thrive during COVID in 2022

As we find ourselves in the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s hard to assume that even one person in the world exists without feeling the impact. We’ve had to adjust our schedules, living situations, jobs, and relationships in order to learn how to cope with the intense shift our world experienced beginning in December of 2019. What if we learned to prepare for the constant movement and change of the state of the world, rather than try to cope with the aftereffects of another change? When we regulate, we are prepared for the ebb and flow and we are able to reach a more stable state of psychological health, whereas coping focuses on learning to deal with negative feelings and emotions as we experience them – and after the fact. We can imagine the pandemic as a set of lungs, expanding and contracting with each rise and fall in case numbers and hospitalizations. Now imagine being prepared to expand and contract with the breath of the pandemic instead of feeling lost to the constant change. Learning to co-regulate can help us expect the shifts that may have blindsided us before, but what might that look like?
  • Keeping up with local case numbers and adjusting work and social plans accordingly to keep yourself and others safe.
  • Responding to school closures, mask mandate changes and work-from-home orders with the lung analogy in mind – we can expect another rise, and then another fall. Let’s prepare for both.
  • Ensuring your mental and physical health are attended to on a daily or weekly basis with things like exercise, nutrition, sufficient sleep, therapy, alternative medicine, and self-check-ins.
  • Practice co-regulating with others in your household or your circle of socialization by reaching out to them and checking in, even when things feel “normal”. Meditation, breathing exercises, conversations about emotions, and quality time spent together can help us to feel supported and connected, on good and bad days.
  • Take a minute to regulate your system with nature. Step outside and breathe with the wind, noticing the parts of our world that have remained stable throughout the struggle of the pandemic (the trees and the ground, for example).
  • Recognize and appreciate the strength you must have within to continue living despite constant uncertainty. When you find that strength, learn to access it during hard times to help pull yourself through.
To most of us, this all seems easier said than done, but taking things one step at a time, one day at a time, can benefit us in the face of constant change. In an article from, co-regulation is presented as a variety of response mechanisms that share a goal of boosting psychological safety. Think of how much easier it would be do deal with COVID’s ever-changing status if we prepared a response to the change! Here are a few ways to co-regulate:
  • Acknowledge when you or someone you are with is distressed. Spend a moment feeling it out and support each other.
  • Create a tool-box of ideas for calming activities and destressing techniques that work for you. Inform important people in your life of this tool box. Maybe they will be inspired to create their own.
  • Limit your news intake. Sometimes too much news disconnects us from things happening directly around us.
  • Increase the time you spend doing things that connect you with a higher power, your spirituality, or something that connects you to what is outside of yourself. Reaching for this during times of difficulty can help connect us to the energy around us, helping us find meaning, boosting feelings of safety and psychological well-being.
As we continue adjusting to the COVID climate of 2022, maintaining our mental health and being attuned with the world around us will hopefully allow for this year to be better than the last two. By Rachael Mielitz, LLPC Sources: