Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety, Fear and Stress
For many the uncertainty of not knowing how they will be impacted by this pandemic or how bad things will get creates an emotional and mental roller coaster that makes it all too easy to get into catastrophizing. Stop!
It is really important to get ourselves into the right mindset and manage our stress and anxiety. When we manage our stress, fear and anxiety it assists us in keeping our emotional equilibrium, strengthens our immune system, allows us to function more effectively, think clearer, and enjoy life more even in times like this.
This is not forever, this too shall pass. We are resilient people and there are many things you can do, even in this unique time we find ourselves in. There is a lot you can do to manage your fears, anxiety and stress and I will share some of those things here in this article.
I know it is important to stay informed and I urge you to check reliable sources like the CDC and World Health Organization once a day. You could also check your news sources once a day. You notice I am saying once per day which means you are not compulsively checking many times a day but limiting it to once a day. Repetition of news or issues tends to create more fear, anxiety and stress so avoid that.
Quit trying to control the uncontrollable. Focus on those things that you can influence or control. Sometimes that is just doing the dishes, or finishing a task or playing a game with your kids or your partner.
Even though we are physically distancing and living in our own physical spaces we still need to stay connected! You want to stay connected with the people you care about, friends and family, with business colleagues because as humans we are social creatures and need that connection. So use your phone, computer, video calls and social media to stay connected. I am seeing and hearing about so many wonderful ways people are coming up with to stay connected. So you can be creative too!
Having said that I would like to talk about social media for a moment. Constantly monitoring social media or compulsively monitoring social media feeds can quickly turn into anxiety, fear and stressful situations. So it is really important to choose wisely and carefully what you are paying attention to and check in with yourself to see how you are feeling. If it is not supporting you in feeling connected and better about your situation then I suggest you step away from social media or limit your time on it.
Even though we are in this situation it is important that we don’t allow ourselves to only dwell on conversations about the state of the world or the pandemic crisis. We need to take time away from the situation talk about other things. Remember to keep your sense of humour as it is a valuable tool in your tool box.
A lot of us are wearing a lot of different hats right now and are multi-tasking like crazy. So there are things you need to let go of and perfectionism is one, from yourself and from others. There are lots of things that may not be getting done. I know my laundry pile has gotten bigger, so what! It is alright to let somethings go, necessary even.
Plan for the things you can and let the rest go. Prioritize and make space for the things that are important. Just like Marie Kondo who does the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Sort your “to do’s” into three lists. The first list is made up of the things that are super important for you to do right now. The second list of things are important and can be put off for a little while. The third are things that can be put off indefinitely, or put off until this is over and done with, or are just unimportant. So the third list and everything on it is set aside and forgotten about until this is over and maybe some of the things will just be put off for good.
For those of us working from home it is important that we create and have routines. Identify when you are the most productive and make that be the time you really focus and get stuff done. Let your creativity come out to play. Look for the opportunities to do things differently or to diversify. Take care of your short term needs and also doing planning for the long term will help you be ready and able when this is over! Keep learning, there are so many ways of learning and so many resources to learn from. Pick up some extra skill sets while you have some time.
It is also important as we work from home to take care of ourselves and our relationships. So make sure you also include time in your schedule for your family and for some fun. Do at least one fun thing every day!
There have been more studies on gratitude than any other emotion. It is scientifically proven to reduce stress, help you have better sleep and live a happier life. So practicing gratitude on a daily basis, by taking a few moments to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including those qualities and gifts you appreciate about yourself can really help.
May I also remind you that our bodies are meant to move. Physical movement is a big stress reliever because it releases endorphins which make you feel better. Remember to take regular breaks from your computer and move even if it is to just put on some uplifting music and dance or do some yoga or stretching.
If you are in need of assistance talking face-to-face virtually with a relaxed and caring listener can help you quickly calm down and bring things into perspective. Emotions can be contagious so please be discerning about who you choose to talk to. Sometimes a session or two with a trained professional can get you right back on track.
Just as important taking care of yourself proper sleep, nutrition, exercise and taking time to do relaxation is needed. These all affect our mental, emotional and physical health.
Stay well and stay safe. If you would like to talk to me I am doing sessions virtually. If you found value in this article please share it and give me feedback or ask questions and I would be happy to do my best to answer them.
Nadine Hanchar international bestselling Author, Speaker, Trainer, Counsellor and Consultant. Master Trainer of NLP, the developer of the PEP Personality Process. Specializing in personal and professional development. Building better relationships at work and at home.