How are you dealing with the affects of the Coronavirus? If you’re overwhelmed and uncertain, here are some helpful tips!
Unfortunately, many know someone who has the coronavirus or they themselves may have it. Whether you are directly impacted by the virus you may be struggling with shelter-in-place and on-going social distancing. Below are just a few of the things you may be experiencing:
- Grief and Loss: Life is no longer like it was before and won’t be the same again. Although we can anticipate that we will edge back into life we are grieving what we had and the freedom to engage in life in a carefree way with others and our activities. Our sense of security in our and our loved one’s health has changed and we feel more vulnerable.
- Boredom and a loss of sense of purpose. Many are working from home now and even homeschooling their children, but our previous jobs outside the home, activities and outside associations have stopped and you may feel a loss of purpose and in a way, a loss of your identity.
- A roller-coaster of emotions: On any given day or hour, you may feel grateful and then shortly thereafter be angry this is happening and then in an hour feel a sense of calm. The bottom line is we are often cycling through a range of emotions as we try to deal with all of the changes. In fact, we can hold more than one emotion at the same time…we may feel uncertain and scared but also grateful and playful.
- Fear of the unknown: Many of us may have struggled with fear of the unknown before COVID-19 hit but now, uncertainty about if and when the virus will be fully contained and when a vaccine will be developed, can lead the steadiest of us to worry.
No doubt, there are many other common reactions to the Coronavirus and COVID-19 and you need to know they are normal reactions and you are not alone navigating through all of these thoughts, worries and feelings. So, what can help us manage all of this?
- Set and stick to a daily routine. Going to bed and getting up at the same time is very helpful not only to regulate our sleep but to also give us a sense of structure and control in our lives, especially when we may feel out of control.
- Exercise, exercise and exercise! I can’t say enough about the benefits of exercise for our mental health and we know that those who exercise regularly experience less depression. Even better if you can exercise outside to get that sunshine in!
- Practice Gratitude: Gratitude is an important component of emotional well-being and those who endorse it find greater resilience in bouncing back from life challenges. Practicing gratitude doesn’t mean we don’t identify and express any difficult emotions we have; it just means that part of our emotional expression includes not only what we’re struggling with but also what we are grateful for.
- Let go of Perfection. Some people are using this time to get projects done, to finally start that food plan, or organize their homes. However, those who do that don’t get some reward or trophy when they are done. Yes, they may feel proud and accomplished and they deserve to. However, we will not be able to live through a quarantine perfectly, just as we were never able to live our lives in a perfect fashion before the Coronavirus. By all means, set intentions and goals but if you’re not able to meet them perfectly, it’s ok and actually a sign that you are human! Goals that are realistic and adjustable are most effective.
- Lastly, practice mindfulness throughout the day. I know this is such a common term but due to the nature of anxiety (focusing on the what if’s…) mindfulness is an important tool to get us through the day with less anxiety. Pause in moments throughout the day, repeat to yourself “Be here, now”, take a long, slow walk, or practice meditation. By staying in the present moment, without judgment we are better able to manage the uncertainty of this pandemic.
If you’re struggling with Coronavirus related anxiety or anxiety in general, give me a call at 916-517-6989 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. www.terrisearstherapy.com
This is a very challenging time and how we respond to it and to ourselves can make the difference in our well-being.