We all get anxious. We all feel a wide range of stress, fear and worry that stem from many circumstances in our lives during this pandemic. These feelings may have crippled us in one way or another the past few weeks, but we can do something about it. Here are some tips on how we can cope.
Acknowledge that feelings of distress are normal. Who would not be worried during these times? We don’t know when this pandemic will end. It has affected us in so many ways the past couple weeks that feeling carefree would not be normal. Many people say to focus on the positive things, and while that is a very helpful advice we need to recognize that it is okay to feel worried. Suppressing our feelings can lead to more stress and anxiety. Acknowledge them, evaluate where they’re coming from, and then identify the things we can control to help us ease our worries, keeping in mind that there are community restrictions and pandemic rules we need to follow if we decide to do something.
Take action over things we can control. These uncertain times might leave us feeling powerless but the good things is, we are not powerless—at least not totally. There are still aspects in our lives that are within our control.
We can choose to unplug from the media and lessen the information that we consume. There are countless sources of information circulating on the internet that may lead to confusion and heightened anxiety. It is definitely advisable to keep ourselves updated on what’s happening in our community, around the world even, but too much information won’t help us cope. Let’s choose one or two platforms that we can trust to get reliable information and stick to it. It is also important to limit how often we check for updates and learn to step away from the media when we start feeling overwhelmed. We can also choose to only share reliable and verified information.
We can also choose to follow the pandemic regulations in our area, wash our hands, exercise at home, boost our immune system and take extra precaution when we need to step outside for groceries, medicine, or other essential needs. For those working at home, we can choose to perform as we would working in an office and do an honest day’s work.
Focus on the present. One source of anxiety is worrying about the future and trying to predict what’s going to happen next. These worries might prevent us from making logical decisions for the present. When we focus our attention on the present, we can get a tighter grip on the things that we need to do now that can positively affect the future. This will help us ease our stress, boost our mood, and increase our overall positivity.
Help others. Amidst the stories we hear about people fighting over toiler paper rolls and political parties pointing fingers at who should be blamed, we also hear many stories of charity and hope.
Some of the uneasy feelings that we feel in the midst of this pandemic stem from feeling powerless. We can regain a sense of control over our lives when we do something empowering. One of the things that can empower us is to reach out to others in need. This might sound cliché but extending our hand to others can help us cope. Even with the guidance on isolation and staying home, we can still help without compromising our safety. Perhaps an elderly neighbor needs help with groceries or to get their prescription filled. We can always drop off the items at their doorsteps and do the financial transactions online.
Others simply need someone to talk to on the phone. A reassuring voice, even when done virtually, can provide comfort. We can also donate to foodbanks and other relief operations initiatives in our communities. And ultimately, our biggest contribution to this crisis is to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus.
Find peace through meditation and prayer. Simply knowing that there is a powerful being who can take this crisis away is already a comfort, we just don’t know God’s timing. You can find peace by seeking to know His will amidst all this and what you can do as His servant during these challenging times. When all else fails, we can be assured that He listens to our silent petitions and prayers. His love is real and His grace is sufficient to get us through these dark times. We can reach out to him in fervent prayer and give all our worries and fears over to Him. In these troubled times, we can rely in this promise of peace from the Savior, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”.
There will always be uncertainty in the future no matter how much we strive to eliminate it, but we can cope with these uncertainties when we acknowledge that our feelings of fear and worry are valid, shift our focus to the present and the things that are within our control, help others, and find peace from the Prince of Peace Himself, our Savior Jesus Christ.