Dealing with Emotional Challenges of the Covid-19 Crisis
In challenging times, there are a wide range of reactions people experience: anxiety, panic, difficulties concentrating or sleeping, feeling helpless or confused, anger, skepticism or bravado, feelings of loss or grief, excitement, relief, curiosity, worsening of chronic health problems, etc. Here are some suggestions to help you cope with these reactions:
Control the things you can control
- Do what you can to avoid becoming infected with Covid-19 – frequent hand washing, don’t touch your face, wear a mask when you need to, practice physical “social” distancing, stay at home as much as you can.
- Focus on protecting yourself and others and don’t worry unduly.
- Focus on solutions not the problems.
Acknowledge your feelings
- Allow yourself to notice and express what you are feeling – journaling, talking to others, creative expression (drawing, painting, poetry, music) all help to identify and deal with your feelings and emotions.
Calm your mind – stay grounded in the midst of an emotional storm
- Let the thoughts and emotions come and go; just watch them and try not to get too involved in them.
- Bring your mind to the present moment – breathe, meditate, pray, chant and sing. Look at the flowers, listen to birds, feel the sun on your skin.
- Listen to music, dance.
- Limit your exposure to the news.
- Watch something light-hearted or humorous.
- Laugh every day
- Don’t use alcohol or substances to deal with anxiety or depression, they will make it worse.
- Take up relaxation practices (mediation, yoga, etc.).
- Help others in practical ways when you can, be a calming influence on others and practice patience with yourself and others.
- Rather than dwelling on thoughts and images of hopelessness, imagine yourself coping effectively. Notice how you would act, what you would do or say. See yourself being effective.
- Think about what you might say to a friend about the current situation that would support, encourage, or reassure them. Now say such things to yourself.
- Spend each day thinking about three things you are grateful for.
- Sweat every day. Exercise is essential to circulate energy, stay healthy, and release tension.
- Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking.
Maintain your day-to-day activities and a routine as much as possible
- Eat healthy meals, exercise, getting a lot of sleep, do things you enjoy.
- Expose yourself to sun daily.
- Go outside while social distancing – balcony? Roof terrace? Garden?
- Keep learning and maintain your study.
- Read books, listen to podcasts that are not connected with your studies.
- Try out a new hobby or skill (cooking, playing an instrument, learning a language, learning how to sew, gardening).
- Spend time with supportive family and friends and avoid those that are “doomsayers”.
- Talk through concerns, thoughts, and feelings with people you trust.
- Don’t let coronavirus dominate all your conversations, but laugh, share stories, etc. about other topics.
- When worried or anxious, reach out to someone who is level headed, thoughtful, a good listener.
- Social distancing is physical; you should still stay socially connected:
- Call, text, video-chat with friends and family
- Share your hobbies, like recipes
- Start a virtual club – like a book or movie club
- Schedule a workout together over video-chat
- Join an online group or peer forum
- Reach out for support when you think you need it.
Contribute – show your care towards family, friends, and vulnerable people in your community
- Send positive messages.
- Deliver a meal to someone in your neighborhood.
- Donate to a cause.
Keep things in perspective
- What are the things within my control?
- Am I overestimating the likelihood of a worst-case scenario?
- What strategies have helped me cope with challenging situations in the past that will serve me well during this time?
- What is a small helpful or positive action that I can take now?
- Stay informed but don’t obsess over the news.
- Stick with reliable sources on the epidemic such as the WHO and the CDC.
- Be careful about what you share with others.
- Set limits around news and social media.
- Be careful of social media: mute or avoid what causes you worry and anxiety.
- Stay up to date with university advice and support.
Difficulties with amount of required writing
- Polish your writing skills.
- Ask for help!
- Reach out to your teacher.