Feeling out of control is a common emotion in these unsettling Covid-19 times. Find out what you can do to boost your energy, mood and resilience.
Anxiety and fear are common in many of my patients as a result of the current Covid-19 Pandemic. The reality is that social isolation is disrupting people’s families, careers, hobbies, exercise and of course holidays.
This article will introduce you to some strategies that will help you better manage emotional stresses in these difficult times.
• I am afraid I will get the virus
• I cannot handle being in isolation
• My elderly parents might get the virus
• I cannot visit my friends or family.
The list is actually a lot longer and the odds are that you can add a few more items to these concerns.
• Whether other people follow the social distancing rules
• How long the pandemic will last
• The amount of toilet paper in supermarkets.
My advice is that you may feel more relaxed when you accept that some, perhaps many things, are not in your control. You can then let them go and focus on what you can control. Which brings me to some things that you can control.
There are some areas of your life that you can control. It is really important to take steps that will protect your emotional and physical health, as well as support your sense of purpose and connection.
• Physical distancing
• Limiting social media
• Turning off the news
• Finding fun things to do at home
• Going for a walk
• Connecting with friends and family
See how many other activities you can add to this list.
Begin your day by putting pen to paper. What do you plan to accomplish? This helps create a sense of purpose so that you feel empowered. Some days it may be as simple as making your bed, remembering to brush your teeth or getting dressed for your “home office”. On other days – preferably most- you may have multiple items and a super productive day.
Some reflection in the evening can also be helpful. Questions may include:
• What am I grateful for today?
• Who am I checking in on or connecting with today?
• Did I get outside today?
Common underlying emotions in people I meet include anxiety, fear, panic, anger and sadness. It can be helpful to ask yourself what is behind or underlying these feelings. Understanding why you have these feelings can lead to powerful and helpful insights into your responses.
A common theme in counselling patients is that there is a lot of negative self -talk and negative beliefs. The following five negative beliefs are from the book “Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy” by the late Dr Francine Shapiro.
• I am not in control
• I am helpless
• I am powerless
• I cannot handle this
• I am insignificant
There are times that negative thoughts are new and only in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. However for some people, these limiting beliefs have been present for many years, often going back to early childhood. As such, they can be holding you back in other areas of your life, and are best resolved with therapy.
Imagine how much calmer you will feel when negative self-talk or beliefs lose their emotional charge and are replaced with positive beliefs such as in the following list:
• I can handle it.
• I can learn to deal with this.
• I am at peace with myself
• I have options within the framework that I am now living
• Being alone is being in control of preventing myself from being infected or infecting others.
Everyone has choices in how they respond to the current disruptive Covid-19 Pandemic. Counselling with me or a psychologist of your choice is readily available if you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed or “stuck”.
There are many different counselling techniques including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy, Internal Family Systems (IFS), Ego State or Parts therapy and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.
All are valuable and a skilled therapist will offer what works best for each person.
The best time to act is now so that you can resolve unsettling emotions or unhelpful beliefs that are causing you to feel anxious, frustrated or otherwise “stuck”.
Telehealth is the new way for many consultations. You are welcome to send me an email or book an appointment online at http://www.wellbeinginstitute.com.au
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