Coping with the coronavirus can be stressful. Stuck at home, it’s all too easy to check the Dallas County Health and Human Services website 100 times a day or worry about the availability of toilet paper.
“I don’t know about you, but I’ve had only feeble attempts to control my anxiety,” said Morgan Myers, a Lochwood mom of two who has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years. “If it’s not my health, it’s the economy, and if it’s not that, it’s my inner world of self-doubt, anger, impatience and powerlessness.”
So how do we stay calm during the outbreak?
Myers is a therapist who has worked with adults and families near Casa Linda for four years. Her specialties include anxiety, depression and coping with past trauma. We talked with her about the best ways to manage anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have a collective anxiety that is the baseline of our daily life right now, and it would be understandable if even the best of us were probably spiraling within it,” she said. “So let’s all slow down a little bit.”
Myers’ 5 ways to cope in anxious times
- Stay present. It’s the antithesis of powerlessness The more we can bring our focus on what’s right before us, the less overwhelmed we will be with all that we can’t control. By being fully engaged with our daily tasks, we are keeping our minds and bodies within the context of our present lives and out of the uncertainty of the future.
- Name it to tame it with someone you trust This is a silly phrase I use with my little clients and adult clients alike. We all have emotions living under the surface, and they can bubble over when we haven’t named or acknowledged how we’re feeling. It can be helpful to give yourself permission to feel whatever you feel, however irrational, knowing it probably won’t last forever.
- Hold on to as many of your old routines as you can. Try your best to keep your rhythms so you can maintain some sense of stability. Even if that has to be modified during this time.
- Start a new routine. There are gifts hidden within this experience. See if you can incorporate some new rhythms during this time.
- Never underestimate the healing and calming power of beholding the beauty around us. There’s something so healing about watching the mayflies float over the grass, listening to a song on the radio, breathing deeply or brushing your daughter’s shining hair. It gives your brain a break from the devastating scenes looping on the news cycle. It’s a healthy practice for all of us.
“None of these coping mechanisms will redeem the pain we’re feeling,” Myers said. “Every small interaction seems to be impacted by this crisis. I hope, though, it can keep us afloat during such a difficult season.”
If you feel hopeless, depressed, anxious or desperate, reach out for help. For a directory of area therapists, go to psychologytoday.com and search with your ZIP code.