Life is so unpredictable. We like to think we can control much of our lives, but this pandemic really highlights that's not true. This is causing a lot of anxiety, worry, fear, helplessness and hopelessness but there are ways to think differently to reduce what you may be feeling.
Even those who don’t typically suffer from excessive worry are feeling overwhelmed, snapping at their kids and partners and are generally unsure how to cope right now.
We don't know what will happen next in our world in the coming months. I want to remind everyone that it's normal to feel like this, but be aware of when your worries may be extreme or irrational.
When we get really anxious we lose touch with the rational centers in the brain and can fall into catastrophic thinking, among other thinking errors. Remember that your anxiety and panic wants you to overestimate danger.
This is the time to practice staying calm and using balanced thoughts. Remember that when you spend a lot of time thinking about something it will influence your sense of risk. Your perception of a situation changes when you spend hours and hours thinking and talking about it.
Very important reminders if you want to FEEL better:
Limit your time spent on social and news media. Screen time is on the rise right now. Be aware of how much media you're consuming and how much of your day is spent talking to friends, coworkers and family about the pandemic. Know the facts but then move on. News media is a business and they want you to keep reading and engaging in their content. They often give you just enough to keep you coming back for more.
Be kind to yourself as you practice tolerating uncertainty and getting adjusted to a new routine for yourself and your family.
Become a problem solver and look for ways this may be helping you in some way. Shift your perspective to influence what you can control (more time to do the things you have been putting off and a pause on your busy lifestyle?).
There's a difference between social distance and emotional distance. Find ways to stay connected to your loved ones.
Take time to focus on self care activities instead of scrolling facebook. Get outside and focus on your mental health. Dip into your self care tool box and choose something that has helped you in the past.
Be OK with a bad day, a day where nothing works and you feel really shitty. It's ok, tomorrow will be better and you'll make your way through this time of disappointment, worry and uncertainty. Self compassion is the only way through any hard thing in life.
As always, we're here for you as a clinic should you need personalized support and strategies to manage this. We'll rebuild ourselves and our lives and become stronger for it.
We've gone totally virtual as a practice and would love to chat with you over zoom or phone. You can book an appointment on our website, www.lauragatien.com, or call Kelly at 506-651-1239.
What is your biggest struggle is right now? ~ Laura