6 Strategies for Coping with COVID-19 Related Anxiety, Social Distancing, and Self-Isolation
In these uncertain days of continuous news coverage, social media opinions and memes, and imposed work-from-home mandates, it is not hard to imagine many of us in our homes struggling with how to cope with our new present reality. I’d like to share some quick suggestions of how to manage daily life in our ever-changing circumstances.
Take this time to reach out to friends and acquaintances with whom you have not connected in a while. Utilize technology to send texts, emails, and make social media connections.
This is a great opportunity to practice reaching out to people you haven’t spoken to in some time. An easy conversation starter could be, “How are you doing with all of this?” or “How are you managing all of the news of the virus around the world?” or “I’m working from home now, how about you?” and share anecdotes of how each of you are navigating the new realities.
Use video and phone calls to “see” one another and break the feeling of isolation.
Although online messaging can be so helpful for connecting with lots of people, take the time to video call or talk over the phone with family and friends. It is important to not neglect our social and relational needs. Reach out when you are feeling anxious or lonely. Talking about the pandemic with others can help ease the anxious feelings as we connect over shared experiences.
Change the topic! Talk about something else for just a few minutes.
Almost every news outlet, social media post, and online article is addressing the COVID-19 outbreak. It is next to impossible to get away from it. Although we want to continue to be well-informed and up to date with the current situation, give your brain a break and talk about something else. Turn off the television for a little while and mute your notifications. Ask your family and friends to share about what they are thankful for; or share memories of a favourite moment or experience over the last year. Be creative with intentionally finding other topics to discuss and share about. s
Get outside and be active.
Physical activity and movement are so important in helping our brains stay healthy. When you are feeling particularly anxious or stuck in your circumstances, go outside for a walk or put on a YouTube exercise video and get moving! As the weather is getting warmer, take advantage of the sunshine and get some fresh air. Take a drive to a new part of town or out to the countryside – there are currently no regulations against leaving the house and being outdoors, so break up your day with several trips outdoors!
Get creative: work on a project around the house or get out your craft supplies.
It is not only a welcome distraction, but also gives your brain the chance to use its creativity. Creating something new gives you a sense of control and agency amidst this time where our world seems to be getting more restricted with each day. Use this opportunity to do a deep clean of your house, start a painting project, or get out the kids’ craft supplies and get your hands dirty.
Show extra grace to your family members and housemates in this time.
Sometimes when the whole family is home together, tensions can rise. This is a time for extending grace and compassion to one another. Recognize each other’s limits, and practice giving each other permission to express feelings without judgment. Routines have changed and everyone is adapting to the new daily reality. Use humour to break the tension and perhaps this can be a time of creating new bonds and memories!
Above all, don’t be ashamed to reach out when you are struggling. Thankfully, in this day of technology at our fingertips, we can connect easily at a moment's notice. I also offer telephone and video call appointments if you feel the need to speak to someone outside of your immediate circle. Please feel free to reach out and I will be happy to be in touch.
We’re all in this together!