Pandemic Stress—Surviving and Thriving
July 01, 2020
By Melissa Shane, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Healing Hearts Counseling
As we move into summer, we all now have experienced living in a pandemic. This has affected our lives in every way possible. Most people find themselves overwhelmed by uncertainty, by being off schedule and by the lack of control. When we live through times of extended stress, finding strategies for coping are very important. We wanted to give some tips for surviving and thriving during this pandemic.
First, let’s recognize that we are all stressed. Whether you are in the high risk group or low risk, we each carry additional stress during this time. Many people may feel increased anxiety and heightened worry. Recognizing and coping with stress in a positive and healthy way can help all of us be more productive.
A good start is to set up boundaries for the information that you let in. While we are now mainly connected by media sources such as news, internet, and social media, it can lead to overload. Choose reliable sources, set limits, and allow yourself to walk away. When information is streamed in constantly, it can be overwhelming and lead to added stress. Additional boundaries can be set for contact with others. There are national and local recommendations, but you will know what you feel safe with for yourself and your family. Educate yourself to make informed choices. Then inform your friends and family. You can decline invitations, choose to not visit establishments, or engage in certain activities. Again, you control your best interests.
Next, we must focus on ourselves and practice self-care as a priority. This includes physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Physical health includes daily activity, getting outside, and eating well. This also means showering and getting dressed each day, whether we leave the house or not. Emotional health means that we are taking care of our emotions. We need to recognize, name, and address our feelings. The pandemic has given many people broadened emotions by the additional stress. It’s ok to not feel ok sometimes! Let’s try to find ways to nourish our emotions by engaging in activities that make us happy and relieve some of the stress. Do happy things such as dancing and singing, crafts, or a pillow fight with the kids. Spiritual health is leaning into your faith based beliefs and connecting virtually with others that have the same values that you do. Many have rituals of attending ceremonies weekly which were stopped, so finding a routine to continue to practice is very important.
With any of these tips, if you are having a hard time adjusting and need help, please reach out. If you feel that you are having more bad days than good, or you feel that the emotions are becoming unmanageable, seek help from friends, family, or seek professional help.
We will continue to survive and thrive.
We are located at 6919 N Knoxville Ave, Suites 100, 201 and 202, Peoria, Illinois 61614. You can schedule an appointment by phone at 309.966.0068 or schedule online by going to www.therapyportal.com/p/healinghearts
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