The coronavirus pandemic and the disease it causes, COVID-19, continues to be a crisis in the U.S. and around the world. It is normal for people to be stressed and fearful when there is a crisis. Acknowledging your feelings and learning to cope is an essential part of taking care of yourself and those you love.
Talking through emotions can help. For some, they find discussing concerns with friends and family members helpful, others find relief talking over the phone with a personal coach and counselor.
Fear and Anxiety Around Illness
Illness and infectious diseases can prompt intense emotions. Adults and children are experiencing stress due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Stresses around the pandemic can include the following:
- Anxiety and panic
- Difficulties sleeping
- Fear and worry
- Social withdrawal
- Anger and frustration
- Use of alcohol and other substances
Everyone carries their own past experiences with them, so how an individual responds to a crisis varies. For instance, because older individuals and people with underlying health conditions are at higher risk, they have fears that might not be felt by younger individuals. But youth could be extremely stressed about the social isolation experienced during stay-at-home orders.
Coping with Stress Through Self-Care
There are tools to helping yourself and your family cope during this difficult time. Make caring for yourself a priority. While there are benefits to staying informed, if the news and social media are increasing feelings of discomfort, allow yourself to take time away from television reports and news websites. Constantly hearing about the pandemic will not having a calming influence on your day-to-day life.
Instead of focusing on news reports, focus on your own wellbeing, including enjoying healthy meals and deep breaths. Getting enough sleep can also be helpful. Poor sleep makes it hard to cope with stress. There are clear connections between sleep and mental health. Without enough sleep, people can become more upset and frustrated. Losing too much sleep, too often, can increase anxiety and depression.
Connecting with people and activities you love can help when coping with stress as well. For example, thinking about how you handled past adversities can provide information on how to manage during this health crisis. If exercise has helped in the past, prioritize a walk in a calm and beautiful setting. Or if you have found gratitude helps to relieve your stress, try journaling and writing down aspects of your life you are thankful for, even if they are small examples.
Focus On What You Can Control
The truth is you can control your own reactions. You are not able to control the behavior of others. Trying to control others is impossible and only leads to frustration, but you can control your daily routine.
Organizing your time can help you to accomplish tasks and make time for things that bring you joy; exercising, hobbies, chats with friends, reading, puzzles, cooking, and more.
Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.