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  • Writer's pictureMichael D. Erickson LPC

Coping with the Pandemic

To help during these uncertain times, I have listed some steps that you can take to manage your own stress and anxiety.

· Take it One Day at a Time – Anxiety occurs when you become worried about the future based on your experiences from the past. The more you worry, the more anxious you will become. The more anxious you become, the more you will tend to worry. Get out of this cycle by getting back in the moment. Focus on what you can do today instead of spending all of your emotional energy worrying about things you can’t control.

· Find Ways to Relax – Take a bath, read a good book, or meditate. The more that you can relax your own body, the less anxious you will feel. Also avoid using alcohol or drugs to detach from reality. Alcohol and drug abuse has increased immensely during the pandemic and will last far longer than CoVid.

· Stop “Awfulizing” – The more you convince yourself how “awful” things are, the worse you tend to feel. Look for the positive things in life, you will feel better if you do.

· Breathe – Don’t forget to breathe. When people are stressed, they tend to hold their breath. Take slow deep breaths, it will help you calm your own anxiety.

· Exercise – Exercise is a great tool to help you discharge the tension that naturally builds during times of uncertainty. There is no better time than today to start adding exercise into your life.

· Focus on Those Things That You Can Control – If you want to make yourself feel crazy, try to control things that you have no control over. Instead, focus on those things that you can control rather than worrying about things that are out of your control.

· Don’t Lose Your Sense of Humor – Be willing to laugh and find humor in things around you. Not everything in life has to be so serious. Seek to be more light-hearted and you will feel less stressed.

· Pace Yourself – The challenges from the coronavirus could be with us for a while. Pace yourself so that you don’t burn out.

· Be Kind to Yourself – Treat yourself with love and respect. Nurture yourself and be self-encouraging. You will feel better if you do.

· Be Kind to Others – Kindness never goes out of style. Be kind to others and maybe they will share kindness in return. Wouldn’t it be great if we could spread kindness with the speed of the coronavirus?

· Connect with Others – Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to be socially isolated. We all need support. Connect with others and don’t isolate.

· Spend Less Time Focused on the News of the Virus – The 24-hour news cycle can escalate the amount of fear and stress that you feel. Be informed but limit your exposure to the hype. You will feel better if you do.

· Do Something New – If you can’t go to your favorite restaurant, maybe now is a good time to try a new recipe. Or maybe now is a good time to learn to play the guitar. Let your creativity flourish and be willing to develop new skills.

· Use the Time at Home to Connect with Those you Care About – Take the opportunities that you have to connect with those people that mean something to you. You will feel less alone and less stressed if you do.

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