Because of the current state of affairs, locally and abroad, it may feel like the world is in chaos and we have no control over our lives. There is a lot of uncertainty and confusion which causes an overwhelming amount of stress for everyone. We don’t know what our future holds.
The information we get bombarded with is always in question as to its validity. Things are changing all the time, daily, and hourly for that matter. Trying to maintain a sense of normalcy and calm in our ever-changing world requires the ability to adjust our plans to adapt to the current state.
Will we be able to keep a roof over our heads? Will we become sick with the Coronavirus? Will we be able to find the essential groceries and other supplies that we need? These are just some of the thoughts racing through our minds at any given moment. It’s difficult to focus on the things that we can control.
You may not be able to control the things going on with the COVID-19 virus, but there are things you can control within your environment and your mind.
A good way to manage the stress of uncertainty is to take an action. Making a plan or plans, is taking an action. Plan the work and work the plan. When you make plans to manage the things you do have control over, then focus on those plans, this action will help keep you from all those negative ‘what if’ thoughts.
4 Things we can control
Create plans with schedules
You may be making multiple plans & schedules depending on your situation, ie., working from home, home schooling, acquiring supplies, home maintenance, self-care, etc. I encourage you to begin your plans with your current routines, then adjust as appropriate.
Keeping normalcy with the routines you performed pre-virus is important. Of course, you will need to make adjustments, but you don’t want to drastically change what you’ve been doing if possible. When things get back to whatever the new normal will be, it won’t be that difficult to ease back into previous routines.
Just because you’re at home most of the time, don’t fall into the trap of sleeping in, or procrastinating, or even living in your jammies. Doing these things will mess with your head and could cause issues with sleep, weight gain, depression or other types of illness.
Set limits of time you spend consuming information related to the Coronavirus. Everyone needs to stay current in our ever-changing environment. However, too much information can cause overload and overwhelm which increases stress levels. Maybe a daily dose first thing in the morning will suffice, then get on with your daily activities.
Reactions to incoming information
We are all humans and certain things will increase our levels of anxiety and stress in our everyday lives. Learning how to manage stress is essential. There are a number of coping mechanisms you can implement to manage stress. Things like exercise, meditation, reading a good book, positive thinking and laughter are just some that come to mind.
A positive reaction to incoming information is to adjust your plans accordingly. As mentioned above, a good way to manage stress is to take an action. When you adjust your plans, you’re taking an action to fit the current circumstances.
This will mean different things to different people, but managing stress is paramount during this time of uncertainty. The excessive amount of togetherness can also cause issues with relationships, so be mindful of that. Our circumstances are different now with the stay-at-home directive, so self-care will need to be adjusted. Think about the things that currently work for you, and tweak them to stay in compliance.
For example, if you used to go to yoga classes regularly, check for online classes you can do at home. There are many online options for exercise. If you aren’t very good at cooking or meal planning, check into meal delivery services. There are also apps for just about everything you can think of for self-care, or anything else for that matter.
Getting outside is very important to self-care. You may not be able to go to a park, but you can soak up the sun in your yard by doing some gardening, or play games with your kids such as baseball, soccer, or having an Easter egg hunt. Taking a walk around your neighborhood, and visiting neighbors that are outside, from a distance of course, is another option.
As humans we need physical interaction, but these days that is not recommended to stay safe. Staying connected with family and friends however, is essential. Even though we can’t physically visit with our loved ones, there are ways to stay connected. Phone calls, texting, social media and video conferencing are all ways to stay connected as an alternative to physically visiting with those that are dear to us.
What other things can you focus on that you can control?