With the crisis of the corona virus accelerating, we are bombarded with new developments daily and even hourly. We don’t know what to expect and listen intently to any new development, focusing on what the experts tell us we need to do to keep ourselves safe. The unknown and volatility of the situation keeps us on constant edge, wondering what the news will bring tomorrow. This situation can make us feel afraid, overwhelmed and helpless. While the threat is real, panic and having our emotions run amok will make the situation even worse. Here are some things we can do to take control and manage our reactions in a difficult time.
Name our emotions
While we are likely feeling some apprehension, keeping it bottled up and denying it only makes it worse. We know that putting our feelings out there helps us to manage them as speaking them out loud lessens their impact on us. It also helps us connect and share with others who are feeling the same way. This normalizes what we are feeling and helps us feel connected and supported.
Support children in navigating their emotions
Children’s feelings are real and as adults we can help by respecting them. While we are struggling with our emotions, we will also need to help navigate theirs. While we don’t have to share everything, such as our worst fears, keeping everything from them is detrimental. If they sense that we have fears that we are not sharing it will only increase their level of anxiety. At this time, we need to be authentic and manage our own emotions.
Focus on what we can control
While there is much out there that is beyond our control, there is a great deal that we can do to alleviate unnecessary risk. We can take back some level of control by staying focused on the areas that we are able to manage in our own lives and those of our families, friends and communities. Talk to your family, friends and those close to you to see what you can do to help one another. Simple ideas like taking turns shopping, our going out for necessities, lessens the number of people that have to be exposed. An added benefit is that by doing this we strengthen our connections with one another.
Get news and updates from only from reliable sources
During these times the rumor mills are in overdrive mode and we may hear all kinds of alarming and terrifying things that will spread panic and create unnecessary stress and fear. We can stop the spread of this damaging misinformation by not listening to it or spreading it. By only accepting information from medical experts we can do our part to lessen the spread of panic, which can increase the dangers we are all facing.
Make creative use of our isolation time
While those who are infected may be quarantined, many of us will be isolating to some degree more than we normally do. This is a good time to reach out to aunt Norma, uncle George or a friend who you haven’t talked to in a long time. Email, text, or better still, call them to hear their voice. This helps break the feeling of isolation and feelings of being alone. Have you wanted to learn to play an instrument, read that book, write that blog or learn a new language? This would be a great time to get started. It will help you take the focus off of what is going on around you, help you take back some control and feel the satisfaction of learning something new. Additional stressors deplete our immune systems. We need to keep our body’s strong and healthy more than ever before. So, let’s try to lower our anxiety levels. Consider meditation, release tensions by going for a walk outdoors, think of the spring blossoms arriving soon, have gratitude for our here and now blessings. We have so much to be thankful for…. embrace those thoughts and our immune system will thank us for it.