Stress less! Managing your anxiety and stress in Covid-19 Coronavirus times.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations and taking care of yourself and your family now may be wearing you very thin. In addition to all the unknowns we are dealing with right now, self-quarantine presents numerous and unique challenges. Linda Avitan (well known to many in the Anglo community) a MSW and certified marital and family therapist in Rehovot shares six ways to cope with today's stress (based Lahad and Alyalon’s Basic Ph model).
Belief can offer solace in situations where logic is difficult to apply. Belief is generally used in the context of religious beliefs and ritual practices, which serve to give one strength, grounding and comfort. However, belief is not restricted to religion. There are many forms of spirituality that give strength. It can be belief in a world-view to which one adheres. Can belief be a coping tool for you?
Affect is emotion. What role do emotions play in your life? How do you express them? In times of stress, it is normal to feel worried, anxious, fearful. Unexpressed emotions “go underground” and can undermine our mental health as well as our physical health. It is important to find a channel for expressing ALL emotions. Some of the other categories offer outlets for emotion such as talking to a trusted individual, journal writing, or “getting it out” physically.
Social refers to interactions, both within and outside of family. Whom do you trust to share vulnerabilities? Whose company makes you feel good? You now have time to talk to with family members in quarantine with you, as well as other people important to you by phone or video chat. But: are you allowing yourself to spend time and personal resources with people who drain you or don’t reciprocate? Quarantine is good opportunity to take a personal social inventory and see what social interactions add to your bank of personal resources. Invest in those, particularly in quarantine!
Imagination includes reading, the arts, and all types of creativity. Do you have a knack for a certain type of creativity? How can you apply that to home quarantine? Do you draw, listen to or play music, dance? How about making a family collage or putting on your favorite music and having a dance party or karaoke? Or playing old-fashioned charades? I promise there will be loads of laughs, which is great for building the immune system! Do you have board games somewhere in the closet? Get them out!
Cognition is the thinking brain. Learning information is one of the ways people cope. “Knowledge is power.” But beware of information overload; it can have the opposite effect. How about an on-line language course? Or read up on a topic you never studied before. It can be a positive distraction.
Physical - Although, with nowhere to go, it could be tempting to stay up late and sleep late, it is important to adhere to healthful sleeping patterns for physical and mental health. Eating properly is just as critical, especially when burning off calories is challenging while in quarantine. Look for on-line exercise routines or exercise as a family; take turns leading sessions. Then you can combine social, imagination and physical all in one!