While striving to endure this pandemic, it is easy to allow worry, fear, panic, and even despair, to enter into our minds and hearts, and to take up residence. Despite our circumstances, we need to try to keep these negative emotions at bay, as much as is humanly possible.
Anxiety and fear actually have the potential to derail our peace, diminish our hope, and divert our focus, leading us into the ‘What-ifs.’ The ‘What-ifs’ only serve to enhance our angst, and deepen our sense of feeling like a victim, with or without cause. These forms of negative thinking perpetuate a cycle of angst and discontentment. Many times, negative feelings make us feel like a victim, with or without cause. These feelings only gaslight and fuel our feelings of being upset, weary, and overwhelmed, preventing us from being happy while living in the present.
7 Strategies to Quell Pandemic Fear
- Limit your news. Too much news can be very stressful, and may provoke mental health issues-even physical issues– such as cardiac conditions or autoimmune flares; depression and anxiety.
- Stay connected. Maintain contact with other people using social distancing via the phone, Zoom, email, texting, or whatever safe means you choose to stay connected.
- Journal. Journaling can be very helpful in determining if you are slipping into social isolation, negativity, or declining health from stress. Keeping a journal of your mind-body-spirit status can help you to stay on track and make any necessary changes to try to stay positive.
- Exercise. It is important for mind-body wellness to stay active and avoid becoming sedentary.
- Pray. For many, prayer and meditation are an important way to stay positive, often lessening or eliminating worry, fear, anxiety, and depression.
- Be creative and stay busy. Especially while staying home due to isolation or quarantine, it may be beneficial to creatively and productively make use of your time through hobbies.
- Reach Out to Others. Often times, people find that their burden is lessened when reaching out to connect with others.
There are many ways to combat the negative emotions and angst experienced with dealing with Covid-19. Many people I know who are struggling through this pandemic have made the observation that the amount that they worry is directly proportionate to the amount of news they have ingested on any given day from TV, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, and print media. Curtailing or limiting how much news you watch may have a positive and direct effect on your ability to cope, enabling you to cope better and to heal from what I call, ‘Covid-19 information Overload.’
Exercise can boost your endorphin level. These powerful, natural chemicals, found in the brain, can improve one’s mood. If you have a treadmill or exercise bike, try to use them regularly. By doing so, you will get stress-fighting endorphins that will help you to stay positive, and physically fit. If it is possible to walk or hike outside, while socially distancing, that is a great way to get moving, too. Another strategy is to reach out to others. Certainly, even with social distancing, we all know someone who would appreciate a phone call, and like to know they are cared about, and not alone. Connecting with others in this way is mutually beneficial, and may be very healing for both people involved.
Writing, drawing, acrylic painting, doing puzzles, sewing, crocheting or knitting, and playing the guitar are all examples of creative hobbies that can serve as diversions from the situation at hand. They can serve to provide much-needed respite and enjoyment through this corona-virus pandemic. These activities also help to pass the time. They may serve as a distraction from the feelings of negativity and boredom, while in isolation or quarantine due to the pandemic.
Prayer and meditation may also enhance one’s ability to cope. Praying and asking for God’s help is often the key to coping for people of faith around the world, and has been for untold generations. Prayer can be a powerful antidote to fear, depression and angst. Through prayer, many people come to recognize that God is in control of every situation, and that realization can be very calming and comforting. Prayer often gives people the hope they need to carry on. For some Christians, Bible reading can also be an uplifting strategy to stay on track emotionally and spiritually. The Bible is chock-full of comforting, uplifting scriptures that can help those who are feeling burdened, or overwhelmed. Praying and reading the Bible often equips and enables those who pray to cope, by helping them recognize that they are not alone in their struggles.
“Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will act.”
It is my expressed hope that by implementing these 7 strategies, there will be a return to a sense of well-being and balance in body, mind and spirit-even and especially through this time of adversity. It is highly likely, that within a matter of months, as a vaccine is found, we will come through this difficult time stronger than ever. Having a positive attitude can make the difference between being able to cope, and sinking into angst and despair over things we cannot control.Choosing a positive attitude, and implementing these 7 strategies, may very well make all the difference in how we cope during this difficult time and beyond.