May 07, 2020 11:05AM
By Douglas L. Anderson, PsyD, Sioux Falls Psychological Services
By: Douglas L. Anderson, PsyD, Sioux Falls Psychological Services
We are living in an unusual time unlike what any of us have seen in our lifetimes. COVID-19 has become a menace that is disrupting our lives and fundamentally changing how we experience the world. We are being encouraged to stay home if at all possible, to keep at least six feet between us and others, and to wash our hands a lot! We have been told that to effectively slow down the spread and “flatten the curve” we will need near total cooperation from the public.
That’s not how we normally function. Our culture, broadly speaking, promotes a strong independent spirit that is not inclined toward being told what to do. But the message from our key medical minds and from our political structures is consistent and calls on us to respond cooperatively. We are in a moment that calls on us to be unendingly considerate of the other person – the colleague, friends, neighbors, and in particular those who are at risk from this virus. We are asked to act in certain ways for the sake of others so that we can reduce the speed of spread and thus have the capacity to meet the medical needs of those who will need such services.
The result of all of this is that we are appropriately anxious. Some things in life naturally cause us to become anxious. You could say that we have the reasonable right to be a bit afraid and anxious at a time when something we can’t see is having its way with our population, impacting our economic, physical, and relational lives.
It isn’t always easy to remain calm. And that’s OK. It’s more about how you manage your anxiety. A few helpful ways to do this include:
· Focus on breathing, inhaling and exhaling, and refrain from holding air in
· Stay connected to friends and family in creative ways;
· Create new routines and follow a schedule;
· Find a balance between work and life;
· Be more self-aware;
· Make time for fun;
· Relax through hobbies, meditation, prayer, or other activities that provide calm;
· Get outside, be active, move more;
· Give and receive love.
If you try these things and you are still overcome with anxiety, know that you are not alone and that it’s OK to talk with someone about it.