Coping with the coronavirus and the pandemic-induced stressors of loss, social-distancing, shutdowns, and grief can be tough. All those months of stress and uncertainty can take a toll on your emotional health. Here are some steps to help you cope with the effects.
Constantly tuning in to your social media feeds or turning on your TV to see stories and updates about the pandemic can heighten all your feelings of sadness, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. To combat this, limit your TV news watching and time on social media, take a few days to break, or stay off it completely.
Are things upsetting you more lately? Do you find it harder to focus on tasks? Are you losing sleep and feeling exhausted? Have you been more impatient and irritable? Are you less engaged with people and activities? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, chances are you're suffering from pandemic fatigue. Don't bottle up your feelings. It’s important to recognize the effects it's had on you to make things better. Your reactions to the health crisis in 2020 are perfectly normal and it's okay to permit yourself to feel sad, tired, and anxious about what's happening.
Recharging your energy reserves will help you feel a lot better. Making time to ensure your mental and physical well-being by doing things you enjoy will go a long way toward helping you cope with the stressors of the pandemic. Try deliberately scheduling breaks and activities. This can be as simple as taking a walk, jogging, reading a good book, making a fancy meal, or jumping on Zoom to chat with an old friend. To ensure you don't forget to recharge, set reminders to take breaks, or do something you enjoy during the day.
You can reduce stress and anxiety, simply by breathing. Practicing breathing exercises regularly will help you slow down and manage your anxiety on a mental and physical level.
Have you been more irritable lately? Has your mood affected your relationships with the people you love? Try reaching out and letting them know how you’ve been feeling so they can understand why. Getting that off your chest can be cathartic and it will help safeguard your relationships in difficult times. Opening up may even help bring you closer to those you confide in. If you are having a difficult time coping with the pandemic, it also helps to talk to others who might be experiencing similar feelings and concerns. By chatting with those who also struggle with the global effects of the coronavirus, you'll get the validation and support you need.
If you've been feeling anxiety and fatigue and that's translated to harmful behaviors like not wearing a mask, not washing hands, or failing to social distance, remember that being diligent in helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus gives you a measure of control. Doing everything you can to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your community safe is empowering. You may feel like you have no control over what's happening with COVID-19, but you do have control over how you’ll respond to the pandemic.