For the past two weeks, all the talk with my family and friends has been about the coronavirus. There is so much uncertainty and so many unknowns. How long will the pandemic last? How many people will get sick? Will I get sick? The governor of Illinois issued a “stay at home” mandate. As this problem heats up, people are having stronger and stronger feelings about what is happening.
Literally all of my clients have wanted to talk about the pandemic and their feelings about it. Not everyone has the same feelings. Many of my clients, are feeling some degree of anxiety or fear. Financial worries and fear of illness top the list of concerns for may adults. Some clients, particularly school-aged ones, are fighting boredom. With schools being shut down and students resorting to remote learning, self-motivation or the lack of it has become a big problem!
Coping with our uncomfortable feelings is of course an age old problem. When we are unhappy we are more likely to retreat to self-soothing behaviors that feel good in the moment but are immediately or eventually damaging to our health and well-being. These choices feel good but ultimately add stress to our bodies and psyches. We need to address our discomfort with constructive rather than destructive solutions.
So here are a few simple reminders to help you navigate through this “new normal” that may be with us for a while:
- Practice self-awareness. Your behavior has already probably changed because of the pandemic and will likely continue to do so. Have the changes been beneficial, benign or damaging?
- Keep up with as much of the HEALTHY OLD NORMAL as you can. Have you been exercising regularly? Eating healthy? Keep it up! That may require getting creative if, for example, you’ve been working out at a club or gym and now have to do it at home.
- Limit your intake of media. News is bad right now, really bad. Whether you are consuming it through major news outlets or social media, if you aren’t careful, it can hurt your mood, or make you feel worse than you already feel.
- Limit your use of self-soothing substances. Of course, this includes alcohol and cannabis, as well as illegal substances. Certain foods also count as “substances” because they changes peoples’ mood.
- Make time for relaxation and recreation with the people around you. If you live alone “meet” with friends or family via a video app such as Skype, FaceTime, etc.
If you are feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or all the above, Quantum Counseling offers online tele-therapy sessions. No need to leave the comfort and safety of your home. You can “meet” with one of our licensed therapists on your computer, tablet or other device at a time that is convenient for you. To inquire call us at 630-707-7217.
Most importantly, take all necessary precautions to stay safe. Protect yourself and your loved ones from infection. The Centers for Disease Control website www.cdc.gov has high quality current information about the pandemic and what you can do to stay safe.