When we think about how much our lives have changed over the past several weeks because of the Coronavirus, the amount of fear many of us are feeling can be overwhelming.
What will happen? Will I get the Coronavirus? Will my family members? If we do get the virus, will we be OK? What about my job? The economy? When will life feel normal?
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. These are uncertain times, and with this uncertainty comes a level of fear that doesn’t feel good. Stress and anxiety are at an all time high for many people right now. The good news, there are actions we can take to help us feel a little better. And, even feeling just a little bit better right now is a win.
Here are 3 ways you can manage fear during the Coronavirus pandemic:
Identify exactly what causes you to feel afraid.
The fear you’re feeling right now is absolutely justifiable. These are scary times. But, try to identify exactly what it is that’s causing you to feel afraid. Once you determine what it is, you can then start working on how to deal with it. Being honest with yourself is the first step to managing the fear. Try not to be judgmental or put yourself down. This isn’t about making yourself feel worse. It’s about having the courage to identify what triggers your feelings of fear or anxiety, and then trying to decrease these feelings. For example, are you especially fearful you’re going to get the Coronavirus? If so, what actions can you take to help decrease your risk? Can you social distance more? Wash your hands more often? Wipe down your groceries before coming into your home? When you identify exactly what you’re afraid of, you can then take specific steps to try and help yourself cope. You might even think about all the precautions you are taking, and then realize you are doing as much as you can possibly do. This realization might actually make you feel better.
Take actions that relax you.
Right now, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have any control. Identifying ways you can help yourself relax is especially important. Ask yourself, “What can I do to help myself right now?” Some ways you can relax are: journaling, talking to a friend or professional via Skype, exercising, watching a TV show you enjoy, meditation, listening to music, cultivating a hobby, or doing any kind of craft. These are tools you can use to help work through this scary time. Anything you can do to shift your focus from the Coronavirus to something else will help you. Many of us find ourselves having more time at home than ever before. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but didn’t have the time? Would this be something that would distract you and help you feel calmer? If yes, go for it. I’ve always wanted to take a calligraphy course, and just signed up for an online class for very little money. This is both fun and distracting.
Even though we’re social distancing, we can absolutely connect with others and not feel so isolated or alone. Reach out to people you haven’t talked with in a long time, connect with others, and even think about how you can help another person right now. I have several friends who are sewing masks, and this is a great way to help the community and themselves at the same time.
Be easy with yourself.
Remind yourself you’re doing the best you can. Maybe, you have school aged kids in your home and you’re trying to teach them while doing your job at the same time. Perhaps, you have a house full of people and you’re trying to keep things as normal as possible in this completely abnormal time. You might be social distancing alone in your home. Whatever your situation, just do the best you can.
Keeping perspective will help you manage your fear. Limit your exposure to the media right now. Stay informed, but don’t watch the news all day. Remember, most people who get the Coronavirus will be OK. Try to remind yourself of this. Give yourself permission to feel all the feels, and go easy on yourself. If you feel like you “should” be more productive, give yourself a pass. Eventually, I might get to those stuffed drawers and unorganized closets, but if I don’t, it’s OK.
Take it one day at a time, try to do everything you can to help yourself feel calmer, and don’t forget to go easy on yourself.