While we acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic threat is real, allowing our emotions to run havoc will only make the situation worse.
With the COVID-19 crisis accelerating, we are bombarded with new developments daily, hourly and even by the minute. We don’t know what to expect and listen intently to any new events, focusing on what the experts tell us to do to keep safe and healthy. The unknown, and the unpredictability of the situation, keeping us on edge, We are pondering what is coming tomorrow. This situation can make us feel afraid, overwhelmed, and helpless while the threat is real, panic and having our emotions run havoc and making our situation even worse.
Here are some of the things we can do to take control and manage our reactions in this challenging time:
Identify Your Emotions – While we are likely to be experiencing some nervousness and anxiety, keeping it to yourself and denying it, will not help to tackle it. Putting our emotions out there, by speaking about them and sharing them with our friends and family will helps to cope with them and will reduce their impact. It also helps to connect and communicate with others who are experiencing the same way. This practice will normalize what we are feeling and helps us feel connected and supported.
Teaching Children to Cope with Emotions – These are unprecedented times. As an adult, in our lifetime, we have not seen anything like this. Our fear and anxiety level is way above the chart. Imagine how children are feeling. Their feelings are real, and an adult, we should respect them and allow them to express their feelings. If they are acting out in an unhealthy manner, teach them how to redirect it to a more healthy form of expressions such as art or a sports activity. One of the most important things to do is not to judge them or tell them they are wrong for feeling how they feel. Take the time to help them navigate their feelings. Children learn by example. If you are not good at handling your own emotions, it will be hard for your child to learn to manage theirs. When you are feeling a certain way, express it in words to your child, keeping everything from them is detrimental as if they sense that we have concerns that we are not sharing, it will only increase their level of anxiety.
Don’t Focus On WHAT IF’s – These testing times are giving us fear, anxiety, and lots of ‘What if?’ moments, which is a very natural psychological phenomenon. Whilst there is a great deal out there which is beyond our realm of control, however, there are many steps we can take to reduce our own risk. These activities will allow us to bring back some level of power in our life by staying focused on the areas that we can easily manage. The first step is to start talking to those close to you to see what support or help you can provide them. As we all are in lockdown, maybe taking turns in shopping to reduce the number of people at risk of exposure to the virus. A key advantage is that by doing this, we are reinforcing our connections and making our community ties stronger.
Minimise the USE of Social Media – The gossip and speculations are currently in overdrive, and the usage of Whatsapp has shot up by about 200%. We are bombarded with all kinds of information. We are not even sure anymore what is correct as we hear all sorts of terrifying things that create unnecessary stress and fear. We can stop the spread of this damaging misinformation by minimising the usage of WhatsApp. By relying on the information from medical experts.
Make this time productive – We may be too busy worrying about the current climate, adhering to the advice given to us on social distancing. But there are many ways we can use this time productively or better ourselves. How about reaching out to a friend or relative you haven’t talked to in a long time? This would help to tackle the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Or even better, how about re-thinking about your life plans? This would be a great time to get started on that training or completing those certifications that you’ve been postponing for some time. This won’t just help to better your life but will also help you take the focus off of what is going on around you, help you take back some control, as well as feeling the satisfaction of learning something new.
Finally, stress and anxiety deplete our immune systems. We need to keep our bodies secure and healthy more than ever before. So, let’s try to lower our fears and anxiety levels. Consider yoga, meditation, journaling, increase your exercise by doing daily home workouts or release pent up tensions by going for a walk. Last but not least increase the use of Vitamin C, lemon with hot water, regular steam and use of black seed oil to keep our immune systems healthy.