Several weeks ago, the coronavirus pandemic changed our lives. Schools suddenly closed. Many employees were laid off. Others transitioned to working from home. Events and vacations were canceled. Overnight, the terms “social distancing,” “flatten the curve,” and “self-quarantine” entered our vernacular as we learned of the extent of the coronavirus threat.
What if? versus What now?
Many of us are struggling to understand and cope with what’s going on in our world during this chaotic time, and managing anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic can feel overwhelming. We are asking ourselves, “What if?” What if my kids don’t go back to school? What if our summer is ruined? What if I lose my job? What if the stock market doesn’t recover?
Unfortunately, “What if?” is a question that relates to the future, which none of us can know. So instead of “What if?”, let’s pause, redirect, and ask ourselves, “What now?” What does this uncertain season make possible that wasn’t possible before? Do you have more time to reflect? More time to connect? Thankfully, being socially distanced from those you love doesn’t mean you are cut off emotionally or spiritually as well.
View this time as an opportunity to reevaluate. While everything is stripped down to the bones, how will you choose to design your life? How will you choose to show love?
Changing Your Perspective
During a crisis, we often dwell on the things we can’t control, which can cause us to have unnecessary anxiety. The anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak is no exception. For managing anxiety during the Coronavirus, we must first change our perspective by focusing on what we can control and staying in the present.
Instead of listing the reasons you have to be anxious, write down five things you are grateful for or blessed by during this season. As you choose to focus on the positive, your perspective will begin to change, and your anxiety can begin to subside because what you focus on is what will grow.
Use this season to develop the practice of replacing complaints with blessings; it will help you readjust your perspective both now and for the rest of your life.
One Day at a Time
Because we don’t know how long the coronavirus pandemic will last, we must take each day as it comes. Each evening, take a moment to reflect on your day and think through what tomorrow will bring. What do you need to do? What do you want to do? What can you do to enjoy this time?
It may help you to make a schedule or simply write down one intention or goal for each day. It can be anything that is important to you. Go outside. Move your body. Watch a movie. Cook a nourishing meal. Express your creativity. Talk with a friend. Practice gratitude. Take deep, concentrated breaths when you begin to feel anxious. Making and keeping a daily goal will help you feel productive and give you purpose for your day. Managing anxiety during the Coronavirus outbreak is essential to your well-being and those you love. Take care of your whole self, including your mental health during the Coronavirus pandemic. Your future self will thank you.
Let Us Help You
Most importantly, remember that you are not alone. We are in this together. If you are struggling to manage your anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak, please reach out to us for help. Our therapists offer counseling, eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR), and brainspotting via teletherapy, which are excellent tools for treating anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic.
Blog by: Rachel McDonald, Clinic Assistant at The Finding Place Counseling & Recovery