Coping With Anxiety, Fear, and Stress Due to the COVID-19 Virus
Coping with the Effects of COVID-19
Anxiety, stress, and fear are natural emotions that can become overwhelming reactions to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Isolation and loneliness can also occur as you apply social distancing, and if you and/or your loved ones are quarantined, or a “Shelter In Place” has been issued in your location. Effects of these emotions can include worry over one’s health and the health of others, changes in diet or sleep, difficulty focusing, and decreased health.
WAYS TO COPE:
1. Take care of your body.
– Eat healthy food, drink water often, get 8-hours of sleep, and avoid illicit drugs and alcohol.
– Stretch your body, and become active in physical activities you enjoy.
– Follow your doctor’s advice, and take needed prescription medication as prescribed.
– Do all you can to prevent getting or spreading the virus by following the important steps listed in www.cdc.gov.
2. Take care of your mind.
– Reading or hearing about COVID-19 continually can be upsetting. Stay informed, but monitor and limit watching, listening to or reading news stories, including from social media.
– Get out in nature, even if it’s just outside your balcony or in the protection of your back yard.
– Seek out reading materials, activities, and interactions that will prompt positive, uplighting thoughts.
3. Take care of your emotions.
– Calm anxiety, stress and fear through slow, relaxed breathing techniques.
– Apply the power of gratitude, and count your blessings, large and small, that are still in your life.
– Listen to music that soothes and uplifts you.
– Process your feelings through journaling, exercising, creative expression, and sharing them with a professional therapist or safe loved one who can help you.
– If you have pets, be aware of their emotional needs as well. Our pets are often highly attuned to our emotional state, and can be impacted by our emotional condition. Be loving and gentle with your pet(s). This will comfort both your pet(s) and you.
– Seek out beauty, positive and inspirational resources, humor, and the tiny miracles that surround you.
– As you take walks, greet those you pass and say, “Hello.”
– Find a reason to smile.
4. Take care of your social needs.
– As you exercise Social Distancing, or are unable to leave your home due to a quarantine or “Shelter In Place,” stay in touch with loved ones through telephone calls and video telephony technology such as FaceTime, WhatsApp, or Zoom. Proactively reach out in this way to family, friends, and neighbors for connection. They will be as close to you as your cell phone, tablet or computer screen.
– While you are connected, inquire as to their well being, and offer emotional support and heart-felt connection. Uplift another during this time of uncertainty and fear. Be sensitive to the needs of vulnerable people, and assist where you safely can. This will uplift you as well as them.
5. Take care of your inner spirit.
– Connect to the Divine, whether you find that in nature, prayer, or within your own inner being.
– Breathe in inner-peace (or whatever spiritual quality you need in the moment) on the inhale, and “Yes” to receiving that quality on the exhale.
– Practice meditation, including various soothing guided meditations available on YouTube and various apps to calm your soul and heart.
– Open your heart to the love that surrounds you. Take that love in, and express the love you feel for those dear to you.
– Send out healing thoughts, energy and prayer for all medical, health care and emergency teams; our world, national and local leaders; those who are ill, suffering or at risk; and for actions to be taken by all to allow a flattening of the pandemic’s curve.
As we cope with these emotions of anxiety, stress and fear, we help make ourselves, loved ones, and our community more resilient. Hold onto endurance, faith and hope, and remember Habim Sanai’s wise words,“This too shall pass.”
Written by Janene Forsyth, LMFT