It’s not an exaggeration to say that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has changed the lives of people around the world.
This coronavirus is unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and it’s causing a lot of uncertainty for how we’ll live our lives these next several months ahead.
If you’ve been extremely stressed and anxious because of this coronavirus outbreak, know that you’re not alone and that there are ways to manage it.
Here are some of the best ways to do it:
Acknowledge and accept your feelings
The first step to dealing with your stress and anxieties is to accept what you’re feeling.
Understand that it’s okay to feel the way you’re feeling right now. In fact, not only is feeling stressed and anxious at times like these okay, but it’s also completely natural.
Give yourself time and permission to feel the way you’re feeling and expressing it.
By acknowledging and accepting your feelings, you can start to free yourself from their grip on you and proceed to manage it correctly.
Focus on what you can control
When we’re stressed and anxious, it’s easy to get ahead of ourselves and worry about things that are beyond our control.
To avoid this mental trap, focus on what you can control instead.
Not only can this help reduce your stress levels, but it can also make you feel more empowered. (After all, a lot of stress and anxiety come from feeling powerless during uncertain times.). By focusing on things that you can control, you can regain a sense of control in your life to help you move forward. Washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding crowds, for example, are things you can focus on to help ward off your anxieties about this viral outbreak.
So the next time something about the pandemic stresses you out, take a step back and evaluate your situation. Is there anything about it that you can do something about? If there is, then make a plan to do it and follow through. On the other hand, if it’s out of your control and there’s nothing you can do about it, then you’ll find it easier to let it go.
Take care of your health
It’s easy to forget about taking care of your health and well-being when you’re stressed out, but this is precisely the time when you need it the most.
In this time of extreme stress and anxiety, make the extra effort to take care of your health properly.
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating healthy foods
- Exercising regularly
- Avoiding things that could lead to substance abuse
- Connecting with family and friends
These good health habits can help you feel better and become more capable of managing any stress and anxieties as this pandemic continues.
You need to remember that social distancing does not mean social disconnection. As more of us stay at home and isolate ourselves during this pandemic, you need to make a greater effort to stay in touch with your loved ones.
In fact, connecting with others – even if we can’t do it physically – is crucial to maintaining our mental and physical health.
The great news is that connecting with family and friends virtually is easier than ever, thanks to the Internet. Whether it’s daily catchups online with family or weekly video chats with friends, staying connected can help you reduce your stress and improve your mental state.
Maintain your routine as much as possible
A lot of things in our daily lives have changed because of this pandemic, and this has caused plenty of uncertainty and feelings of helplessness among many people.
Maintaining as many of your previous routines as much as possible can help give you a sense of familiarity throughout these uncertain times. Whether it’s waking up at the same time every day as you did before the pandemic or having your coffee and lunch breaks at the same time like you were in the office, finding a sense of familiarity can help you stay more grounded.
Find ways to relax
One of the most effective ways to manage stress and anxiety is to do activities that help you relax and forget about what’s stressing you out.
This is the perfect time to get into your hobbies. Whether it’s playing music, reading books, or watching movies and TV shows, finding ways to relax and de-stress can go a long way in helping you get through this viral outbreak.
You can even use this time as an opportunity to learn a new hobby or try something you’ve always wanted to. Just remember to do what interests you.
The goal of these activities is to take your mind off this pandemic so you can focus on things that you enjoy.
Don’t be afraid to get help if you need it
Finally, don’t be afraid to get help and professional support if you need it.
We all live in different circumstances, and we all respond to stress and anxiety in different ways.
During these challenging and uncertain times, remember that you can still get counselling and professional support from qualified healthcare practitioners. In fact, there are a variety of telehealth solutions available to provide healthcare support and services when in-office consultations are not possible. Don’t be afraid to try such services if you find yourself overwhelmed by stress or anxiety throughout this pandemic.
Here at CFHP, we continue to provide professional support and counselling to those who need it through in-office consultations and telehealth solutions (for those who can’t visit our centre). You can book an appointment online to get started.
Lisa Kunde has ten years experience working as a psychologist with adults in both private and public hospital settings (oncology, palliative care, chronic pain, cardio-pulmonary, psychiatric and alcohol and other drugs units).