Emotional Survival Guide in the time of Coronavirus

This is a difficult and challenging time for all, and each one of us will react to the current events in our own way. Please remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel, act, or think. Our reactions are based on our history, who we’re spending time with, what we’re doing, who we’re talking to, what we’re reading and watching, and how we and our loved ones are feeling. Now is the perfect time to practice and become proficient in self-acceptance.

The unknown and uncertainty of our current situation may create anxiety and worry. Isolation may lead to loneliness, especially for those living alone. It is as important to take care of yourself physically (which I hope you’re doing by staying home), as it is to take care of yourself emotionally. The two are intertwined and equally important.

I’d like to offer some suggestions that may help:

  • Routine is important. Keep your daily schedule as close to normal as possible. Try to wake and go to sleep at regular times. Use the time you spent commuting to do something good for yourself. Make sure you get some fresh air and spend a little time in sunlight each day.
  • Stay connected. Social isolation can increase stress, inflammation, and help foster ruminating thoughts. Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation. It is especially important to connect with others during this time. Use your telephone and some form of video platform to connect with friends at least once a day. You can have lunch together, cocktail parties, book groups, play cards, have watch parties, etc. all from your home on video.
  • Stay informed but limit your news to only legitimate sources, like the CDC or World Health Organization. Turn the news off when it gets to be too much. You may notice that everyone on Facebook has now become an epidemiologist – don’t listen to them.
  • Control stress. Try stress reduction tools such as, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization.
  • Practice Mindful Meditation. This helps to bring your awareness to whatever is arising for you at the present moment and see it with acceptance and without judgement. It has the potential of increasing relaxation and giving you an opportunity to pause and evaluate before reacting.
  • Keep your body moving. It’s important to keep physically active during this time. Look for exercises you can do at home or go outside when you can distance. Do anything that that gets your body moving for at least 30 minutes each day. YouTube has exercise classes for all tastes and levels.
  • Exercise your mind. Take the time to develop a hobby, learn a new instrument or language, or read that book you’ve been wanting to read.
  • Take control of what you can controlFocusing on things you can control will help you feel more grounded and less helpless. Try organizing, cleaning, doing taxes, gardening, etc.
  • Laugh. Remember to find something to laugh about each and every day.
  • Don’t self-medicate.
  • Reach out for help if necessary and remind yourself this is temporary.

Stay safe and healthy.