Emotional Resilience amidst COVID-19
SINCE THE outbreak of this global pandemic COVID-19, the emotional trauma experienced around the world has undoubtedly been overwhelming. As we stay abreast of the news about the corona-virus; it appears as if the situation is becoming grimmer and grimmer by the day, and as governments and businesses issue closing or work-from-home directives, the anxiety level for most is on the rise. I would imagine that the anxiety surrounds mostly the unknown factor associated with this virus, where persons find it difficult to comprehend how an illness whose main preventative measures are the basic hygiene practices of hand-washing, coughing in your elbow, avoiding touching your face, can lead to such catastrophic stories of death around the world.
As human beings we thrive on being in control and any element of uncertainty can create within us inner turmoil at a magnitude that can destroy inner peace and comfort; allow us to become totally discombobulated, rendering us mentally, emotionally and even physically powerless. Allow me therefore to offer a few recommendations to help you develop your inner emotional resiliency as we wait out the passing of this pandemic.
1. Accept negative emotions It is important to acknowledge that a lot of anxious thoughts and emotions will show up during this time, and to accept them rather than trying to push them away or escape them. The same goes for sadness stemming from the loss of our regular ways of living, worry about lack of supplies or apprehension about kids getting cabin fever. That’s because research has shown that avoidance of such emotions will only make them stronger and longer lasting. Notice negative emotions, thoughts and physical sensations as they come up, look into them with curiosity, describe them without judgment and then let them go. This is an essence of mindfulness, which has been consistently linked to good psychological health.
Instead of fighting our emotions, we can invest our energy in creating the best possible life, given the circumstances.
2. Stay informed – but don’t obsessively check the news It’s vital to stay informed, particularly about what’s happening
in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Caribbean region, so that you can be properly advised of the necessary safety precautions to follow, which will help you do your part to slow the spread of corona-virus. But there’s a lot of misinformation going around, as well as sensationalistic coverage that only feeds into fear. It’s important to be discerning about what you read and watch. Stick to trustworthy sources, such as the CDC, the World Health Organization, and here in SVG, the Ministry of Health’s facebook page. Limit how often you check for updates. Constant monitoring of news and social media feeds can quickly turn compulsive and counterproductive – fueling anxiety rather than easing it. The limit is different for everyone, so pay attention to how you’re feeling and adjust accordingly. Step away from media if you start feeling overwhelmed. If anxiety is an ongoing issue, consider limiting your media consumption to a specific time frame and time of day (e.g. 30 minutes each evening at 6 p.m.). Ask someone reliable to share important updates. If you’d feel better avoiding media entirely, ask someone you trust to pass along any major updates you need to know about. Be careful what you share. Do your best to verify information before passing it on. We all need to do our part to avoid spreading rumors and creating unnecessary panic.
Continued next week: