Coping with COVID-19
Living through a pandemic is very stressful and it can feel overwhelming. We are faced with daily changes, disruptions, challenges, and the threat of illness. All of this can be daunting. However, we are resilient. During these times, it is helpful to review the coping strategies that we all likely have used at one time or another in the past.
- Know the facts. While there is always uncertainty, it can be reassuring to learn how best to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe [COVID-19 information] and to know the difference between facts and myths [managing COVID-19 news].
- Avoid news-overdose. Limit your daily dose of news or social media messages related to COVID-19. While knowing up-to-date facts are important, we don’t want to be overwhelmed with information overload.
- Don’t panic! We may experience all kinds of emotions and have all kinds of worrisome thoughts, but we don’t have to simply believe in our thoughts and our worst fears. We can learn to challenge our thoughts and practice techniques that help us and feel more relaxed and at ease [relaxation techniques].
- Problem-solve. With rapid changes and many things coming at us at once, sometimes we don’t know where to begin. It’s helpful to be remember our ability to solve many problems when we tackle them one at a time methodically.
- Get help and resources. The pandemic and public health measures impact on us in many ways. We may need extra help for things that we normally can manage. It is important to reach out for help, whether it is for money or help with grocery shopping [mental health resources].
- Turn to your social supports. “Social distancing” measures are intended to create physical distance to curb transmission. However, we are social beings. During times of stress, it is even more important to connect with our loved ones and our communities for mutual support [social isolation & relationship challenges].
- Mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation practice can help ground us. It helps us pay attention to the present moment non-judgementally and get “unstuck” from thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
- Self-care strategies. Sometimes we neglect to take care [self-care] of ourselves. The time to take care of ourselves is now – make time for it!
- Take action! Maybe there are some things that you can do to benefit yourself or your community, but you have been putting it off. Whether it’s because you have no time to do it before, or you don’t feel like it, sometimes taking just small steps can lead to big change and rewards. This can include personal action (e.g., cleaning your closet) to collective action to support our communities in this time of need [taking action].
- Seek professional help. Sometimes even our best coping strategies are not enough when we try to face tough stressors on our own. There is no shame in getting professional help. It is a sign of courage and strength to proactively get the help you need. When you get help, you will also be helping so many people you are connected to and will touch in your lifetime.
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