The Top 8 ideas to dealing with COVID-19 induced stress is a set of practical and actionable ideas to mitigate the stress and strain from the unique and surreal times we are all living through.
The cataclysmic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic include fear, uncertainty, and doubt, and the resultant stress and anxiety. Each of us is dealing with COVID-19 induced stress in different ways, but we must try to come up with ways to cope with the impact and implications and wait for better days to emerge.
You may not be able to follow all the suggestions and advice on the list, and that is OK. A vital factor to keep in mind is don’t try to be perfect, and it is perfectly normal to be vulnerable and, at times, volatile.
Top 8 Ideas for Dealing with COVID-19 Induced Stress and Anxiety:
Acknowledge and Accept Anxiety and Stress are Real, and it is reasonable to suffer from such emotional turmoil.
A pandemic is a black swan event, and there is no pre-set playbook. Hence, cut yourself some slack and acknowledge your stress and anxiety are an acceptable form of reacting to the unique circumstances. The more you deny the existence of stress and anxiety or wish it away, the more you are likely to suffer more adverse consequences.
Avoid and confront the Spiral of Negative Thoughts
Of course, avoiding negative thoughts in such bleak times is not entirely possible. However, you can try to minimize the impact and the vortex of negative thoughts spiraling out of control with a range of strategies ranging from questioning the fundamental assumptions to eliminating the self-fulfilling prophecy of confirmation bias.
Do things that clear the fog of anxiety and stress
Each of us is wired differently, and hence what works for one may not work for all. For example, for some of us, physical exercise (while practicing social distancing) may help release endorphins and help reduce stress and anxiety. For another group of us, a pleasant “virtual” chat with a family member or friend or colleague may ease tensions. And for some others, music or an inspirational biography may do the trick.
Whatever works for you, engage in such actions and activities that mitigate the feeling of helplessness and foster a bright and positive mindset – however, temporary the impact may be.
Focus on What you can Control
If you look at the problem set in front of you, it will be evident that there are some problems within your sphere of control, a few other issues where you can influence, and yet another set where you have zero control. So, the only choice you can make is a) accept that these problems are out of your control and b) the best way to deal with them is to be prepared and deal with them as they arise rather than worry endlessly about the impending calamities.
Avoid Sources of Gloom and Doom
We all know that there are individuals, information sources, TV personalities, Social Media influencers, and the like that cause consternation, heartburn, and a feeling of depression due to their negativity and constant spewing of venom and the perpetual blame game.
Avoid all such individuals and sources of gloom and doom like, pardon the pun, the plague. Such prognosticators of gloom and doom never offer constructive solutions, and hence it is better to stay away from the grips of their deadly deception.
Based on your media consumption and political proclivities – whether right, center, or left – you know what the things that rile you up and make you angry or sad or any such extreme emotions are.
Our humble suggestion is to avoid such venues and people.
Reframe the Issue
In crisis times like these, getting out of our comfort zone and impulsive reactions and muscle-memory induced actions are counter-productive. Hence, it may behoove you well to look at the problems differently and reframe the issues.
Reframing is a powerful psychological concept and involves identifying the parameters of an issue and then looking at the situation in a different light and challenge the assumptions and turn the status quo upside down. Cognitive reframing will be an excellent concept to lean on during the COVID induced stressful environment.
Give, and you shall Receive
Doing small things for others is a powerful way to deal with COVID-19 induced stress and anxiety. Due to social distancing, traditional volunteering and philanthropy may or may not work. And, writing a check alone – while it will be of great help the receiving organizations – may not be what you need to think as giving.
How about sowing some face masks for the heroic healthcare professionals who are at the frontlines of the pandemic? Or care packages for those who are less fortunate and need all the help they can get? Or even a simple concept like sending positive messages on social media or sending virtual “smile cards”? Any of these material and non-material ways of sharing and caring can, in turn, help your frame of mind and instill positive feelings.
Live your Values
As the famous saying goes, “Integrity is doing the right thing when nobody is looking.” Similarly, at times like these, look at every action, decision, and activity from a lens of your personal values. Living your values means many things to many people.
For example, being kind and considerate could be one of your personal values. No better time than now to practice it. Or one of your personal values could bring joy to others. How about organizing a virtual bingo for the elderly in your life? Or a virtual happy hour for your colleagues. Anything that helps you live your values, which, in turn, are beneficial to others, is a powerful way to lead your life and deal with stress.
We hope the top 8 Ideas for Dealing with COVID-19 induced stress and anxiety are practical and useful. Please suggest if you are following any other coping mechanism and wish to add it to our list.