We’re only three months in and 2020 has already placed an enormous amount of stress on just about everyone. From climate change, the Coronavirus, economic instability, poor access to healthcare, and more – it can be extremely hard to relax. These uncontrollable issues can increase symptoms of anxiety and raise our fear levels. Even naturally calmer individuals may be experiencing an anxious tingle under the current conditions. In times like these, it is hard to ignore the fact that many of these scary things are preventing us from living our ‘normal life’.
Parents frequently wish they could wrap their entire family in bubble wrap to protect their loved ones from the world. Have you ever checked your notifications or turn on the news and then turn it off because it is too much? We all want to know what is going on. Curiosity is a natural human feeling. Now is a time where we need to find a balance between gaining information and knowing what to do with it. Plus, it is hard to find the truth in a sea of mixed comments from social media and new centers. Contradictory information can be ambiguous and lead to increased anxiety and a general sense of being overwhelmed.
Ambiguity is not fun. We do not always have an answer to what will come in two weeks let alone the next 24 hours. The beauty of being upset about our current life events is that we are aware and connected to reality. To remain calm does not mean to pretend everything is okay, because that doesn’t mean we accept reality. Denial can be a slippery slope.
So how do we remain calm when the world, our world, is in chaos? The following are brief suggestions to manage and assist symptoms of anxiety and feelings of fear:
- Become resourceful: To help navigate these ambiguous times, we must become resourceful for our good. As aforementioned, there is plenty of conflicting information online and on the television. Finding a reliable source is imperative to avoid overthinking, which can cause a majority of us to fall into panic.
- Remember what we can control: Honestly, we cannot wrap our entire family in bubble wrap as we descend into a chaotic world. Yet, we can identify what we can and cannot control. This process starts with working with our perception and thoughts of the world beyond our household.
- Taking breaks from the outside world is OKAY:We are allowed to not pay attention to the outside world every once and a while. Sadly, with the growing interconnectedness that smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other screens bring into our lives, it is hard to not pay attention to it. It will do you and your family good to not pay attention constantly to the social media.
- Turn off CNN updates and other notification pushes
- Only allow yourself a specific amount of time to review what had happened in the day
- Normalize with your family: I cannot stress this enough; we must talk to our family about what is happening. We are doing a disservice to our family by placing them further into a denial spiral, which can cause anxiety. Our children are super sensitive to ourselves and things around us, they should know what is happening to an extent.
- Mindfulness breaks: We must take time for ourselves. It is okay to be ‘selfish’ in times like these. That does not mean to buy all the toilet paper. It does mean to relax and take a bath or go for a walk by yourself. If we cannot love ourselves then we will have a hard time loving and taking care of our family.
We have to take care of ourselves first, to take care of our family members and attend to our daily lives. The world can be chaotic and scary. If you or someone else needs someone to talk to please contact Therapy Etc. We currently offer Telehealth for those who are interested.