One of the biggest struggles with COVID-19 is the uncertainty with this virus. How do we treat it? Will we become infected? How long will we need to maintain physical distance?
Given that there is so much that is unknown right now, it is understandable that many of us are struggling with anxiety. The following are some suggestions that may help support your emotions.
1) Find areas in your life where you have control.
Do you have a routine that you follow? How are you managing to get adequate sleep, exercise, and diet? How are you practicing physical distancing? While there is a lot of uncertainty right now, notice and foster the many areas in your life where you have control.
2) Physical distancing is not the same as social distancing.
For many extroverts, it is extremely difficult to not have access to other people. Practicing physical distancing does not mean emotional isolation. Stay in touch via electronics. Yes, for once in our lives, it is acceptable to encourage screen time!
3) Limit your time reading the news
Stay informed, but do not stay glued to CNN, CTV, BBC, or wherever you get your news stories. Set a limited amount of time to tune in during the day so that you are aware of what is going on. Too much time reading about COVID-19 can leave us overwhelmed.
4) Validate your anxieties
Of course, you are overwhelmed right now. We have not faced COVID-19 before, and we don’t know what to expect. Your anxiety is a natural human emotion that is letting you know it’s worried about something bad happening in in the future. Validation does not cure anxiety. However, notice what happens to your emotions when you recognize the normalcy of feeling scared versus pushing it away or trying to argue with it.
5) Notice how you take care of yourself
Your anxiety will feel calmer once it trust that you will take care of yourself today, as well as in the future. This might involve creating a plan for your finances, your work, your health, your education, and so forth. What are you doing right now to ensure you are staying safe and well? Remind yourself often of these steps to help reinforce to your anxiety that you are doing your very best.
6) Create a plan if you were to get sick
This does not mean ruminate for hours, but set aside 10 minutes to plan for this possibility. If you were to start showing symptoms, what would be your first step? Knowing even a few of the steps you will need to take can balance out the fear of uncertainty.
7) Enjoy your space
A patient recently told me “your home is not your prison”, and I really resonated with this statement. You’ve worked so hard to create a beautiful home, and now you’re finally allowed to spend time in it. You may have considered slowing down with the busyness of life. Now, many tasks and errands have been removed from your daily responsibilities. Don’t get me wrong- this is no one’s idea of a vacation. However, there is a sense of release when given permission to spend time at home and enjoy activities at a slower pace.
As always, please feel free to reach out or share this post.