March 2, 2021

Coping With COVID Uncertainty

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Events of the past year have forced us all to adapt. Some of those changes have been easy and even enlightening. Others, not so much. We soldier on, hoping that things return to a sense of “normalcy” at some point, but few among us anticipated having to embrace the COVID-19 global health crisis as the status quo.

While vaccines bring hope and promise, we may not see changes happen at the pace we would like. The uncertainty is, perhaps, the most challenging aspect of the situation. If you feel helpless and a bit panicked because of it, you’re not alone. Truly, the best way we can help ourselves is by learning how to cope effectively.

To support you in this effort, I’d like to offer some coping tips to help you manage your anxiety.

Coping Tips to Conquer COVID Uncertainty

Put these tips into practice today, and you’ll begin to feel the benefits almost immediately.

Focus on the Present. Anticipation drives anxiety. It’s often about what will happen in the future or what went down in the past. However, neither the past nor the present are things we can change—practice mindfulness to redirect your focus to the present moment. Direct your attention to what’s in front of you, not just the task, but how it makes you feel. Reconnect with your senses—of touch, sight, sound, smell—to separate anxious thoughts from the experience of living.

Challenge the Need for Control and Certainty. Attempting to control the current situation will not change anything. Ultimately, this approach will only amplify your anxiety if you continue along those lines. It might be difficult if you’re wired this way naturally, but learning to let go will undoubtedly ease the burden you feel.

Practice Self-Care. “Me time” in the pre-COVID era might have looked a little different, but there are still many ways to practice self-care without endangering yourself or others.

Exercise. Many scientific studies prove exercise is as effective as medication for mild to moderate depression. With just 30 minutes of moderate activity a day, you’ll alleviate anxious feelings and perhaps prevent them from coming on. 

Meditation. Meditation involves a mindful focus on the present moment. It’s a great way to clear your mind and relieve stress. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t come easily – if your mind starts to wander, acknowledge those thoughts, and circle back to your breath. 

Accept Your Feelings. Your feelings are yours. Good or bad, they have value. Emotional tolerance helps you respond to your emotions with compassion, without becoming overwhelmed or disconnected. When we consciously avoid unpleasant emotions, our efforts often make the bad feelings stick around a lot longer.

Seek Emotional Support When You Need It. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to a dear friend or loved one. We’re all going through the same things right now, so understanding is often just a call away.

Recognize When Professional Support Might be Helpful

If you are experiencing overwhelming anxiety and fear that doesn’t ease despite your best efforts, it might be time to seek professional support. Excessive stress impacts many areas of your life, from sleep quality to chronic health conditions, and more. Just know that help is within reach. If you live in New York, Massachusetts, or Pennsylvania, reach out today to schedule a 15-minute phone consultation.