Emotional resilience amidst COVID-19
Continued fron last week
3. Focus on the things you can control – It is agreed by now that we are in a time of massive upheaval. There are so many things outside of our control, including how long the pandemic lasts, how other people behave, and what’s going to happen in our country.
As long as we’re focusing on questions with unknowable answers and circumstances outside of our personal control, this strategy will get us nowhere — aside from feeling drained, anxious, and overwhelmed. When you feel yourself getting caught up in fear of what might happen, try to shift your focus to things you can control.
For example, you can’t control how severe the coronavirus outbreak is in your city or town, but you can take steps to reduce your own personal risk (and the risk you’ll unknowingly spread it to others), such as:
- Washing your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds) with soap and water or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 70 percent alcohol.
- Avoiding touching your face (particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth).
- Staying home as much as possible, even if you don’t feel sick.
- Avoiding crowds and gatherings of 10 or more people.
- Avoiding all non-essential shopping and travel.
- Keeping 6 feet of distance between yourself and others when out.
- Getting plenty of sleep, this helps support your immune system.
- Following all recommendations from health authorities.
4. Reflect, relate and reframe – Even during social distancing, there is an opportunity to deepen our relationships with the people in our household and beyond.
Make it a priority to stay in touch with friends and family. If you tend to withdraw when depressed or anxious, think about scheduling regular phone call, whatsapp chat, or even Skype dates to counteract the inclination to pull away and become depressed.
While in-person visits are limited, look for substitutes:
- Social media can be a powerful tool — not only for connecting with friends, family, and acquaintances — but for feeling connected in a greater sense to our communities, country, and the world. It reminds us we’re not alone. With that said, please remember to be mindful of how social media is making you feel. Don’t hesitate to mute keywords or people who are exacerbating your anxiety. And log off if it’s making you feel worse.
- Don’t let coronavirus dominate every conversation. It’s important to take breaks from stressful thoughts about the pandemic to simply enjoy each other’s company — to laugh, catch up, and focus on other things going on in our lives.
5. Take care of your body and spirit – Emotions are very contagious, so it is extremely important that we protect our emotional space. As some general self care habits, we can pay attention to the following:
- Be kind to yourself. Go easy on yourself if you’re experiencing more depression or anxiety than usual. You’re not alone in your struggles.
- Maintain a routine as best you can. Even if you’re stuck at home, try to stick to your regular sleep, school/work if it can be done from home, meal. This can help you maintain a sense of normalcy.
- Take time out for activities you enjoy. Read a good book, watch a comedy, play a fun board or video game, make something — whether it’s a new recipe, a craft, or a piece of art. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it takes you out of your worries.
I am hopeful that these few tips will assist you during this difficult time as we all navigate through COVID-19.