The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Healthy Ways to Cope
What are some healthy ways to cope with a crisis and get through to the other side? Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when coping with a crisis.
Focus on What’s Important
It’s important to focus your resources. Just getting through the day is an accomplishment, so paring down your responsibilities in order to just do that should be key.
Order take-out so you can cut down on shopping and cooking, put unnecessary commitments on hold, and just focus on what really needs to be done, so you can conserve your physical and emotional energy.
Let your loved ones lighten your load by helping with tasks or providing a supportive ear. Give them a call. You can repay the favor later when you’re up to it and they need something.
You can feel better from receiving support, and others will probably feel better by being able to do something to help. That’s what friends do best.
Lessen Your Stress Response
When you experience a crisis (or even when someone close to you experiences a crisis), your body’s stress response may become triggered and stay triggered, keeping you in a state of constant stress.
It may be difficult to feel “relaxed”, but you can practice stress relief techniques that can reduce the intensity of your stress levels, help you reverse your stress response, and feel more resilient in the face of what comes next.
Process Your Feelings
Whether you write in your journal, call a good friend, or consult a therapist, it’s important to put words to your experience in order to better integrate it.
You may be tempted to ignore your feelings for fear that you’ll ‘wallow’ too much and get ‘stuck’, but processing your feelings allows you to move through them and let them go.
Take Care of Yourself
In order to avoid adding to your problems, be sure to eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and do other things to keep your body functioning at its best.
Also, try to do some things you normally enjoy, like seeing a movie on Netflix, reading a good book, to relieve some of the stress that you’re going through.
Be Patient With Yourself
Sometimes people wonder if their negative reactions are a sign of weakness, or if they’re handling things the ‘right’ way. While there are more and less healthy ways to handle troubling situations, be patient with your feelings and reactions to things.