Many are in fear regarding the contagious effect of this virus and consequences, particularly for the elderly. Others such as people with compromised immune systems, first responders, children, teens, and people with anxiety and other various mental health issues are also of particular concern.
There are ways to manage this stress and fear, and I wrote this blog to help with that because we need to protect from the virus, but we also need to protect ourselves from the severe anxiety around it. Anxiety is bad for you and can actually promote illness if you have too much of it.
With the closings of people’s social connections, stress outlets, colleges, gyms, and churches, many people’s way of coping with life have been compromised. The very things we need at this time may seem unavailable. In conjunction with that we are all dealing with uncertainty and the impatience, fear and worry that go with that. When this will end we do not know.
Fear and anxiety at this time are normal. Some even say they are feeling the symptoms, even if it is just an allergy or a slight flu symptom.
The media and mass fear are contagious indeed. The disruption of support and social interaction combined with paranoia in some can be debilitating.
Parenting at this time is challenging as well. Kids are home due to the pandemic and we want to keep them safe, but again don’t instill fear. By this I mean we want to teach children to be safe and cautious, or anyone for that matter, without overreacting in fear. Remember the titanic. Some went down singing, others in shear panic. We choose how we react and speak about a situation. Our children will learn from us. This doesn’t mean we are undermining or minimizing the seriousness of this, it just means we use healthy language and skills to help people be HOPEFUL and safe.
Here are some helpful tips to combat anxiety and fear.
- Stop watching the news constantly. You can be informed but not obsessed. If you miss something, believe me, someone will let you know.
- Engage in something new or something you have had limited time for in the past. Cook, play music, write, read a book you have put off, finish a well overdue project. Learn something new online. Clean out your closet and give clothes to goodwill.
- Exercise. There are millions of online classes and some are free. You can go on youtube or eventbrite to find some. Walking is free. Try walking daily in different spots. Get the yoga mat, turn on calming or upbeat music and stretch.
- Meditate and breathe. There are apps online for meditation instruction. You Tube has many for free.
- Repeat positive affirmations contradicting negative rhetoric and thoughts: I am healthy; My immune system is strong and protective; This too shall pass; Most people recover; My loved ones will be fine. Remember positive thinking is not denial. It is a survival mechanism. It is essential.
- Eat healthy, breathe and take care of your body
- Spend time with your animals and family, play games, talk, engage.
- Treat yourself to something each day. Maybe a fine piece of chocolate, a new recipe, a soothing bath with a new soap. Purchase a new musical piece if you play music. Make a new food dish for yourself and your family.
- Check in with people you love. For those that are alone don’t forget them. It’s much harder to be alone each day with social distancing. Pick up the phone more. Engage in less texting. People are lonely and want true connection.
Remember this in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
EXPLORE. LIVE. CREATE SOMETHING NEW.
Peace and love,