We are all feeling a sense of fear because of COVID 19. There is so much uncertainty and ongoing change in the world that we cannot help but be impacted. We do not have any control over the outcome or know of adequate treatment modalities that will keep us and those we love safe. It is this uncertainty that breeds anxiety and drains us of our physical and emotional energy. This inflates our motivation and often this is when we can become harder on ourselves and start the cycle emotional self abuse.
One of our basic needs, is to have a sense of love and belonging through connection, this can be difficult when we are required to limit our physical connection to others. This has impacted our mental health and well being because we are social creatures and need connection. Without this connection and this lack of control or having the feeling of helplessness we cannot help but to become more anxious.
Many people also are trying to support those they love and show genuine care, without even realizing it we often absorb the fears that those we care about hold on top of our own original fears.
On a good note, there are things we can do to decrease the anxiety that we may be feeling.
One of the ways to reduce anxiety is to adapt in a sense of meaning or purpose in your life. This may shift the disconnection to a sense of connection. Fear is part of humanity and making meaning is not only about processing what we are experiencing or what is happening in the world but also how we are growing from it. We can assist with processing by meditating, having open conversations with others and doing self reflection like journaling.
Another strategy is to recognize that we all have limits. Having limits is healthy. Talk with your family about personal limits and your boundaries with regards to what you are comfortable with in relations to COVID. Having open discussion is a great coping mechanism and can promote understanding. We are all impacted and need to take time to be in the moment so we can reflect on our limits and comfort. One of the things that I do is hold my warm cup of coffee or tea and feel the warmth in my hands while I slowly deep breath and focus on my sense of feeling and the smell of my coffee before I can make sense of stressful events in my life. Many people focus on their 5 senses to help them become mindful of the moment. This can help you to ground yourself when your limits are being pushed this grounding is important. Sometimes we can rely on ourselves to cope but other times we need to reach out to others for that support. Take time to consider where you might turn to for support and think about who you know that may also need this connection from you so you can both partake in giving and receiving.
I also believe that it is important to take time to be grateful and find joy in life. Finding things to appreciate will help decrease anxiety and depression so that the inner turmoil due to COVID 19 will diminish. This is a part of self care. Strive not to be too rigid and stuck in a certain way because life is always changing, and this can help with relaxing the body and mind. This is about grounding yourself and celebrating the good things.
It is also important to acknowledge loss and make room for grieving.
Grief does not only just mean death, but it can mean the ending of something like the physical connection to people and relationships, for example not being able to have family dinners because of social isolation. It can also be the ending of the income that you have known due to not being able to go to your regular job. In many ways we have been separated from the life we know but these struggles are not because of personal weakness. Take some time to reflect on your losses, worries, and wishes then take time to acknowledge, those losses and strive to make some sense of meaning of your experiences. It is important to acknowledge the reality of loss and allow yourself time to grieve through hobbies, journaling, meditation or being with nature for a few examples.
I hope this blog helps with understanding and acceptance. If you are continuing to struggle with coping, please reach out to someone who is non-judgmental or email me to book an appointment so that you can share your feelings.