The COVID Hangover


woman with hand on her forehead. covid hangover. Des Moines MomI feel hungover and it isn’t from too many margaritas.

In March 2020, we were on our way home from the Wisconsin Dells and passed a pickup full of toilet paper and water. Things were getting real.

The following months were a rollercoaster. Kids being in and out of school paired with a job that demanded more than I’d ever had to give professionally left me in a constant state of reaction.

Take all of that and pile on society as a whole. Our country wasn’t at war but we sure picked sides on dozens of issues. We shredded each other from behind screens and judged people’s entire moral character on how close they were to others in their driveway. 

People had babies, said goodbye to loved ones, had kids graduate, changed jobs, got married, got divorced, and did a ton of other things that we are built to do with other humans supporting us and not over the internet.

We sat more but it wasn’t at the dinner table chatting with our favorite aunt, it was scrolling. Mental health issues are skyrocketing.

I thrive on rollercoasters. But, now that we’re in 2022? I feel like I’ve been stuck on a merry-go-round way too long. That’s the feeling I’m calling my COVID hangover.

So, how do we start to cure the hangover?

Tips for Surviving a Pandemic


Like any hangover, this one will take time. Our foundation was rocked and we learned to live life in a completely different way. We’re learning to make the good things, like more time with family, part of our everyday lives. And, we hope the bad things don’t happen again. 

Good for them but not for me

Say that out loud. I actually read that for the first time on this blog and it is powerful. Figure out what you value and want out of life. When you come across something you feel like you should be doing, take a hard look and decide if you really want it. If not? Good for them but not for me. If you do? Put a realistic plan in place and go after it. Knowing what you want and how to get there can help break a slump.

Get out of the box

It seems like COVID has magnified the “box.” Everything we do, believe, think, and feel needs to fit in a box and then we need to put other people in the box with us. If we don’t perfectly align? Get out of my box.

My husband and I wouldn’t fit in the same box on everything. Don’t be so quick to judge someone or boot them from your box just because you don’t 100% agree on everything.

Move your body

Believe me, I know how hard it is to move your body if you haven’t done it in a while. Small steps matter. Spend a week doing something for 10 minutes four or five times. Gradually increase the time by a few minutes over six weeks and see how you feel. Don’t judge your movement by your waistline. Focus on how you feel after you’re done.

I use the Peloton app and I don’t even have an actual Peloton! The app is cheap and has short workouts like strength, barre, yoga, meditation, and more. Finding something you enjoy doing is key. Don’t be afraid to try new things!

Get out of town

If you haven’t left where you live in a few months, leave. Drive to a neighboring town and get coffee, do something outside this winter, or go big and take a vacation. Breaking your routine is an easy way to get off the merry-go-round.

Drink water

Every hangover needs hydration! It’s amazing what adding more water to your day can do for your mind and body. Check out these tips if you’re not a fan of drinking water.

The COVID elephant

COVID isn’t over. It’s still here and will be for a long time. After having COVID in December 2020, I read an article comparing a pandemic to an endemic. Recent news has also started to talk about this as an endemic. Putting myself in the frame of mind to better understand that has been helpful. Things will continue to change and our decisions will change with them. Just owning this will be part of our lives for a while and giving ourselves permission to alter our decisions can change the weight of a pandemic.

What are other tips do you have to break the slump?

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Brittney and her husband, Tyler, have been married for 10 years and live in Ames. Their two sons, Beckett (5) and Hudson (3), keep them on their toes with constant wrestling, dinosaur-related questions and daily inquiries as to when their next trip to get ice cream will be. Brittney works full time in marketing and communications. She likes to bike (the kind with pedals), visit family, hang out with friends, be in or on water - and always has good coffee and red wine on hand.


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