While we might know the symptoms of COVID-19 like the back of our extremely clean hand, it is important to be aware of the additional ways the virus can be impacting others. Through all of the doom and gloom, it is imperative that everyone remain mindful of their current state of mental health. With all of the stressors that come with a global pandemic, it is normal to feel like things are out of your control. But with a loss of control comes a feeling of hopelessness, and often times, it can be consuming.
There may be increased fears about you or your loved ones contracting the virus, or fears about what the pandemic’s impact will have on your employment. Additionally, with public health restrictions in place like social distancing and other measures being taken to decrease face-to-face interaction, it is easy to feel increasingly isolated. While these are all legitimate concerns, know that you are not alone in these feelings. Globally, there are people who share the same fears and uncertainty that you do.
It is completely natural to experience varying levels of stress, anxiety, and uneasiness about the current state of affairs; it’s an inherent part of living during a global pandemic and having to face the aftermath of a new reality once it’s passed. In order to preserve your mental health and get through these trying times, there are a few key things you can do to help manage your stress and fear.
1. Give Yourself A Break From Media Coverage. While it is important to remain aware of new developments related to COVID-19, especially within your local region, saturating yourself with negative news bites might be impeding your ability to think about anything else. Strike a balance between consuming news and taking a break to avoid upsetting yourself.
2. Spend Time Outdoors. Even if you don’t feel comfortable going to a local park or walking trail, spending time outside has been proven to improve overall well-being. Pull up a chair in your front lawn or take a phone call outside for 20 minutes. Give yourself a break from being cooped up inside in favor of some fresh air.
3. Try To Keep A Daily Routine. Having structure despite the ways in which everyday life has been upended can be good for providing a sense of control. You know what schedule you have to stick to, and what tasks need to be accomplished. This gives a sense of purpose and is good for keeping focused.
4. Stay Connected To Others. To combat feelings of isolation and loneliness, pick up the phone and call your friends and family. If you have the ability to video chat with them, this can help remedy anxiety about not having face-to-face interaction with others. If you’re working from home, stay connected with your colleagues by e-mailing, video-conferencing and via phone calls.
5. Focus On What Is In Your Control. If your anxiety and fears come from feeling a loss of control, try and gain perspective on the things that still are in your control. Practice good hygiene, follow your local social distancing guidelines and encourage others to do the same. Win back your ability to feel in charge of what is affecting you.