There is no doubt that coping with the current COVID-19 pandemic is challenging. Very few of us have ever experienced this level of fear, concern, or sadness in our lifetime. At the time of writing this article, nearly 1.8 million people had contracted the Coronavirus worldwide, with over 100,000 deaths recorded. Scary stuff!
Of course, the fear is not just about contracting the virus, the implications are far greater reaching than that. The pandemic has a direct, or indirect, effect on our lifestyles including:
- Fear of contracting the virus;
- Financial implications – fear of losing your job or your business;
- Fear of loved ones contracting the virus;
- Increased negative emotions including fear, stress, anxiety, sadness, depression, anger, frustration, irritability, hopelessness, loneliness to name a few;
- Strain on relationships;
- Feeling disconnected;
- Apprehension about going to public spaces.
Feeling all, or any, of these experiences is perfectly understandable. Our way of life has, in many cases, been completely turned upside down. The way we study, work or socialise has completely changed. We can no longer travel and many of our leisure activities have been taken from us.
When we try and predict the future, the “what if’s” kick in. We go through different scenarios in our head, and these are usually worst-case scenarios. Why are we humans so negative? It is our survival instinct – our way of trying to look for things that can hurt us.
When we don’t feel in control of a situation, anxiety, or the “what if’s”, go into overdrive. Anxiety thrives on negative emotions and can have serious physical symptoms including racing heart, upset stomach, lack of appetite, tight muscles, inability to sleep, restlessness, fatigue or sexual disfunction.
Dealing with Anxiety
A common strategy for reducing anxiety stems from the fact that whilst we may not be in control of a situation, there are certain things we can change to reduce the impact of that event or situation. By making these changes, it makes us feel somewhat more in control of our destiny – and as such, reduces the anxiety that we may be feeling. Fabulous, so how do we do this?
- Follow government guidelines. Our government is working overtime to try and understand how best to contain the effects of COVID-19. Keep up to date with current restrictions and follow those restrictions.
- Change how you work. Are there changes you can make in order to work remotely? If this is not possible, what health and safety precautions do you need to put in place in order to continue your work? If it is not possible to do either of these things, can you find temporary work until you can resume your usual job?
- Government assistance. If your job has been affected, what government assistance are you entitled to?
- Maintain a routine. In order to maintain good mental and physical health, it is important to maintain a strict daily routine within the guidelines of current restrictions.
- Stay connected. Whilst it may not be possible to socialise or hug friends and loved ones, it is still possible to stay connected. Phone calls or video hook ups should be maintained.
- Keep busy. Now is the perfect time to undertake those jobs around the house that you have been avoiding – cleaning, painting, renovating, organising. Keeping busy will help to give you purpose.
- Self-care. Make sure that you spend some time every day looking after yourself and doing things you enjoy.
- Acknowledge your feelings. Remember, it is okay to feel overwhelmed. This is what makes you human.
- Have some fun. Now is the perfect time to reconnect with the family – play board games, listen to music, watch a movie together and most of all, try and have a laugh.
- Keep things in perspective. Remember, this will pass! Following government guidelines is a small price to pay to stay healthy, and keep your loved ones healthy – and it will not be indefinite.
Hope this helps! Please remember that help is always available – even though it may be in a different format to what you are used to. Please feel free to contact me by phone, text, email or though my website if you want to make a Telehealth appointment.
Stay safe beautiful people!