Advice On Dealing With COVID-19 Anxiety

Dr. Linda Edelstein has been a therapist and author for almost 40 years, and my mother for even longer. During this time she has thoughtful, intelligent advice to share. I will be posting her writing here and you can also check out her blog ‘Life Ain’t For Sissies’.

The American Psychological Association has recently been doing its best to provide relevant information to its members during this time. I will do my best to read most of it and relay abbreviated versions (psychologists can get rather wordy) to you.

It is smart to be prepared and helpful to understand that most of your reactions are quite normal, even if they are intense.

We are in a transition – we don’t have the new normal yet. We will get there…

What to expect during social distancing and social isolation:

1.    Stress that results from drops in meaningful activities, sensory stimuli, social engagements, and increased financial worries.

2.    Strain that comes from an inability to rely on your usual coping strategies such as the gym or your house of worship (or going to work and being away from family).

3.     Fear about getting the virus or infecting others.

4.     Anxiety about having enough food and other supplies in your home.

5.     Depression and boredom, sadness and loneliness

Here are a few that may not be as obvious

1.     Anger, frustration and irritability with the loss of personal freedom.

2.     Stigmatization by others who fear they will contract the illness if they interact with you.

How to cope

1. Limit your reading, listening and watching. Sure, stay informed but don’t become habituated to  every update.

2. Stick with legitimate and reliable sources for your news. It can be tempting to follow every white  rabbit down the rabbit hole, but DON’T.

·         Create a reasonable daily routine that works for now, and

·         Follow your daily routine. We all need structure.

·         Try some of your usual activities remotely – yoga, exercise, learning chatting.

·         Stay virtually connected to others

·         Eat reasonably and maintain your health. As I had to remind myself   today, pasta followed by cookies will kill me faster than the virus.

·         Learn strategies to manage stress – more posts to follow on this; stay tuned.

·         Help someone else.

Source American Psychological Association

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