Although the coronavirus is still affecting the world, we are starting to see that the world has begun to open back up. Life went from being completely normal to it being shut down within the blink of an eye. We stayed inside and watched countless hours of Netflix, learned new cooking recipes, and began to appreciate the downtime from our once busy lives. Now that we’re all used to working from home, social distancing, and only leaving our homes to go grocery shopping, as the world opens up, it’s understandable that you may have some fear and social anxiety about it. Even if you’re someone who never felt like they struggled with this type of anxiety before, this time of unknown can spark up all types of emotions, even ones you never thought you’d experience. In this blog post, we are going to be discussing some tips about how you can cope with any anxiety or fear that you might currently be feeling. Keep reading to learn more!
Write Down How You’re Feeling
When you start to feel socially anxious, it can almost feel like a huge wave or rush of emotions that are so difficult to pinpoint, you don’t even know how you’re feeling or how to communicate how you’re feeling. Whenever you start to feel anxiety or fear creep up, try and document those feelings. Write it down, even if you don’t think it makes any sense. Not only can this help you determine what emotions you’re experiencing but it can also help you focus on something else, which you may find helps ease your anxiety and fear. This can also be a helpful tool when you’re trying to explain to someone, whether it be a friend, family member, or therapist, about how you’re feeling and what happens to you when you go through those emotions. This can help the people you love and trust understand you better and help them help you. Try getting a journal that you like, whether it is your favorite color, pattern, or theme; having a journal that you like can make the journaling process more appealing and fun. Think of it as your adult diary!
Learn to Accept Your Feelings
As we’ve mentioned before, this is a very unknown time for all of us and can be very scary. Most of us have never faced anything like this before and we’ve never had to shut down the world like we are now. From travel bans, mask requirements, and business closures, there is so much changing. All of your feelings of uneasiness and doubt or fear are 100% normal. Even if you typically haven’t felt feelings of anxiety before, you may be experiencing them now and that’s okay. Learn to accept these feelings. Don’t push them away or disbelieve them. They’re real and the more you acknowledge them the more you’ll be able to cope with them in a healthy manner. We all know that you shouldn’t ever suppress your feelings about anything but when they’re being bottled up in a state of the unknown, you’re more likely to explode in a way that you typically wouldn’t.
You may also realize or notice differences in other people’s behavior, which will probably be similar to your own. According to the CDC, stress during any infectious disease outbreak can induce and include any of the following behaviors:
- Fear and worry about your own health/the health of your loved ones.
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns.
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
- Worsening of chronic health problems.
- Increased substance use (alcohol, tobacco, other drugs).
If you’re noticing these behaviors in yourself or others, take the time to accept that these are very normal reactions. At Palatine Ridge Counseling, we want you to know that we are here for you. While these behaviors are normal, they can be harmful to your health if they are continued for short periods of time, and can have even larger consequences if they’re continued for long periods of time.
Talk to Someone
While Facetime, Zoom, and Skype have all become some of our most-used apps, these don’t just have to be used to speak with friends and family. They’re great to use for after-work happy hours but they can also be used through forms of teletherapy and counseling, which you can use to your advantage. Seeking help, especially mental help, can often seem a bit overwhelming. We want you to know that it’s completely normal. You don’t have to have a significant trauma or have “something bad happen to you” to go to therapy. Experiencing a major life change, like the coronavirus pandemic, can count as a large life event and may have even been traumatic, depending on how you feel you’ve been affected.
Nowadays, many people use therapy as a healthy third party to obtain an unbiased opinion. Your life could be going great and therapy can still be a very useful and healthy tool. If you’re feeling more anxious or even experiencing feelings that are new, seeking help through therapy might be something you do. Many people who start therapy continue it, even long after their “problem” is fixed. We even offer virtual therapy that can take place in the comfort of your own home. So whether you’re feeling anxious about going out into the world or don’t want to leave your bed, you can still have access to therapy and mental health help.
Do What’s Best For You
One of the main points to understand right now is that everyone should be doing what they are comfortable with. For some people, they’re comfortable going back to their normal lives. This might include working back in an office or visiting their favorite restaurant. However, others may not feel comfortable joining the normal world again and that is completely okay too. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of comfort, it’s important that you keep yourself healthy and safe. It’s also important to not judge anyone on how they are handling it. Even though you think you might know their standing and think they’re being too conservative or liberal with it, everyone is entitled to have their own stance on it. So, be gentle with yourself and be gentle with others. Everyone is doing their best and that’s all we can do.
Once again, this is a weird time for all of us. Whether you’ve been highly affected or your life has only seen subtle changes, experiencing fear and anxiety due to the coronavirus is completely normal. As we begin to go back to our daily routines we want to be there for you no matter what. Whether it’s through various forms of therapy and counseling, our entire team is here to help! Please connect with us directly to learn more about the practices and procedures that we are implementing to keep you and our team safe. Visit us online to schedule your appointment.