COVID-19 – How are you doing?
How can we deal well with uncertainty? Take care of yourself! You are important!
Humans like certainty. We tend to always want to know what is happening and when, and we aim to avoid things that feel threatening to us. When something feels uncertain or when we don’t feel safe in general, it is normal to feel stressed. We look for solutions, for answers. This is especially difficult when, like now, there is a sense of uncertainty and conflicting information around us. When we can’t control something or we feel something is out of our control, this can cause feelings of anxiety.
Right now, many of us are worried about COVID-19, which is known as the “coronavirus”. Many people feel somewhat helpless, we don’t know exactly what is going to happen or what we can do to prevent further stress. Each of us reacts differently to this uncertainty and deals with this stress differently. Some feel more nervous than usual, angry, helpless or sad. Some notice that you react more frustrated than usual or would prefer not to be reminded of what is happening at the moment.
Those of us who are already struggling with our mental wellbeing might feel more depressed or less motivated to go about our daily activities. We are not always aware of this. That is why we need to pay special attention to ourselves and others now.
But it is important to know that we are not helpless in the face of current events in the news. We can always choose our response. Here are some tips:
- It is important to separate what is in our control from what is not. There are things we can do and it is helpful to focus on those. For example, washing your hands regularly, sneezing into your elbow, avoiding large groups of people and staying at home when you feel ill. But it is also important to limit news consumption(do we really need to know what happened on a cruise ship, do we need to know exactly what the current situation is in the whole world right now?).
- Do what makes YOU feel safe. This will be different for everyone and it is important not to compare yourself to others. It’s okay if you’ve decided that you feel safe not going to that invitation.
- Go outside into nature – even if you avoid crowds. Some fresh air, a dose of vitamin D and having a good time with someone else feels good. Exercising also helps your physical and mental health.
- Challenge yourself to stay in the present. You may be making your worries worse. It’s easy to not only think about what’s happening right now, but also project yourself into the future. If you are feeling anxious about something that hasn’t happened yet, gently bring yourself back to the present. Notice and name the sights, sounds, tastes and other sensory experiences in your immediate moment. Focus on your breathing and imagine you are in your favourite place, your desired place. Engaging in mindfulness activities is a way to stay grounded when things are out of our control.
- Stay connected and don’t stay alone when you need support. Talk to trusted friends and family about your feelings. If you are feeling particularly anxious, if you are worried when your thoughts are on a rollercoaster or you have too many questions, if you are worried about yourself or others but maybe don’t dare or want to talk to someone about it… You don’t have to be alone with your worries and thoughts and it can be helpful to share your experiences with those who are trained to help. We are here for you! We are here for you!
We are here and help is always available.
Don’t stay alone!
Note: If you have questions about coronavirus or think you may be infected, contact the Coronavirus – COVID-19 hotline directly at 8002-8080.
Based on the article “Taking care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty” by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention by Doreen Marshall, Ph.D.