As we are facing a global crisis of coronavirus, with isolation, social distancing and lock down becoming words we hear daily – how do we cope with this great unknown? There are many worries, not just for your health and the health of your loved ones, as well as financial worries. There also seems to be no timeline of when our normal lives will return. This can all be very overwhelming and cause a great amount of worry.
How can you deal with these worries and still function?
There are things that you can do to manage your mental health and your worries in a healthy way. We will all find different ways to do this, whether it’s spending time alone binge watching tv shows, reading or watching things on YouTube. Others may try a more harmful way of coping such as drinking too much alcohol or smoking non-stop.
It is best to use healthier methods of coping as these are better for you and your body and will have longer term positive effects on your mental health.
Some of these more positive tips you can try are:
Acknowledge your anxiety and that it is an anxious time
This is an anxious time; it is a time of great uncertainty and financial insecurity for many of us. This is true and it is a reality. It is important to acknowledge this, not to dwell on this all day but by starting to admit it is a stressful time, you give yourself permission to feel what you are feeling. Yes, it is important to try to remain positive in these times, but it is also important to acknowledge that it is a difficult time we are all going through.
Allow yourself time each day to worry
If you are constantly having thoughts of worry and fear, aim to allocate some time during the day when you are allowed to feel these feelings and express them out loud. This can be when you take the time to watch some of the news channels, or when you speak to a close loved one who you can express these fears to. It is good to express these feelings out loud, and if you allow time to feel them – really feel them – it may help you to focus on other things for the rest of the day. It may free your mind to let go of those feelings and be distracted by other things.
Connect with loved ones to help ease your worried mind
Use phones and computers to keep in touch with those you love. Call them, video call them, email them, message them – but stay in touch. We are physically apart, but we do not need to be socially separated. Loneliness is not good for us as humans, we need connection. Connection helps to soothe your mind and help you to feel part of something, and less alone. Even if you don’t feel like it, make the effort to make that call or send that message. Reach out to those you love, check in on them and by doing so you will also feel closer and more connected. This can definitely help to ease your worry and feelings of fear and loneliness.
Exercise is so important to help to manage worries
Exercise is such an important and simple way to help you manage your worries and stress. Even if you are unable to be outside at the moment, there are many exercises you can do at home. There are so many free online classes being offered at the moment on channels like YouTube – from yoga, Pilates, aerobics, strength training as some examples.
If you are allowed outside to exercise, then take advantage of this and make sure you are outside for your 30 minutes a day to walk and get a breath of fresh air. This can really lift your mood to be outside, to have a different view as well as positive chemicals being produced by your body during exercise.
Exercise produces chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, which help to reduce the stress chemicals in your body and can help to lift your mood.
Reframe your situation
Instead of seeing this as a time of being locked in and being kept away from loved ones, see this is an opportunity to slow down. It can be a time to reflect and relax. You will have more time than you usually have, so use this time positively to look after yourself and have some “me” time in the midst of all of this. It can help to keep you going, and give you the energy to see this outbreak to the end positively.
Find the time to try something new
Where many of us have more time, try something new. It doesn’t need to be something big or scary, but start anew exercise, try a new recipe each week, or start journaling. You don’t have to stick to the new thing, but at least you have given it a chance. You may find something that you love and want to include in your life going forwards.
Worry and anxiety are real
This is unchartered territory, we are all afraid at times and we are all anxious of what’s to come – but by trying a few positive techniques, you can make this difficult time a little bit easier.
If you are needing some more advice or someone to talk to about your worries, then call The Center • A Place of HOPE. They have trained health professionals to help you through this difficult time.
Dr. Gregory Jantz
Pioneering Whole Person Care over thirty years ago, Dr. Gregory Jantz is an innovator in the treatment of mental health. He is a best-selling author of over 45 books, and a go-to media authority on behavioral health afflictions, appearing on CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, and CNN. Dr. Jantz leads a team of world-class, licensed, and...