We’re all stuck at home and there’s nothing to do. And as if that wasn’t enough, the constant news cycle dominated by COVID-19 isn’t making things any better. So, it’s no surprise that we’re a bit more prone to stress now than earlier.
Stress is an unavoidable part of today’s reality. But what if there were some easy techniques you could use to restore your peace of mind whenever life starts to feel overwhelming?
Right now, the world is going through a massive upheaval. So many things are completely outside of our control, including how long the pandemic will last, how the people around us will behave, and what’s going to happen in our lives post lockdown. That’s a difficult thing to accept, and so many of us spend our time by endlessly searching the Internet for answers and thinking about all the worst scenarios that might happen. But as long as we focus on questions with unknowable answers and circumstances outside of our control, this strategy will backfire on us and leave us feeling drained, anxious, and overwhelmed.
When you worry about getting caught up in fear of what might happen, shift your focus to things that are in your control. For example, you cannot control how severe the coronavirus outbreak will be in your city or town, but what you can do is take steps to reduce your own personal risk and the risk of you unknowingly spreading it to others. So make sure that you follow all the safety procedures issued by the government and health authorities.
Plan for what you can
It’s natural to be concerned about what may happen if you or your loved ones get sick, or you have to self-quarantine. While these possibilities can be terrifying to think about, all you really need to do is to be proactive to help relieve at least some of the anxiety.
Write down particular worries you have about how COVID-19 may disrupt your life. If it feels too overwhelming, take a break.
Make a list of all the possible solutions for problems. Try not to care too much about “perfect” options. Write down whatever comes to mind.
Focus on concrete things you can control and change, rather than circumstances beyond your control.
After you’re done evaluating your options, make a plan of action. When you’re finished, set it aside and do not give into the urge to go back to it until you absolutely need it.
If at any point you feel yourself getting panicky, pay more attention to your breath and your body. Concentrate all of your attention on the here and now: Notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you and the feeling in your body. Breathe slowly in and out—slowly bringing your mind back to your body and breath every time it starts to lose focus—until you feel more calm.
Stay connected in physical isolation
Social distancing is of vital importance right now. But the trouble is that humans are social animals. We’re designed for connection. Isolation causes loneliness which exacerbates anxiety and depression, and even takes a toll on our physical health. That’s why it’s beneficial to stay connected as much we can even while we cut back on in-person socializing.
Schedule regular phone, chat, or video calls with your friends and other loved ones who’re away from you.
Use video chatting for face-to-face contact. This will be like a “vitamin” for your mental health as it will reduce your risk of depression and help ease stress and anxiety.
Social media is also a powerful tool for not only connecting with friends, family, and acquaintances but also for feeling connected in a greater sense to our communities, country, and the world. It will serve as a reminder that you’re not alone.
Don’t let coronavirus dominate every discussion. Take regular breaks from stressing about the pandemic to simply enjoy each other’s company—to laugh, share stories, and focus on other things that are happening in your lives.
Cherish your lives, stay safe, stay home 🙂