Emily A. Ludwig, PsyD
We are living in very uncertain times right now…the news is bad and people around the world are sick with the Coronavirus. We’re now working from home. Our kids can’t go to school, they’re stuck at home with us, can’t see or play with their friends and are going stir-crazy. Businesses are closing and many of us are facing the loss of income or even lay-offs. How do you reduce stress in your household during a time like this? Is that even possible? Yes, it is.
Acknowledge Your Fears, Control What You Can – Let’s face it. It’s a scary time, unlike anything most of us have ever witnessed. We are used to being in control or at least feeling like we are. However, we can’t control COVID-19 and we don’t know how it may impact us personally or as a community. What you do have control over is your own behavior and thoughts. Keep it simple. Follow the CDC guidelines, stay at home, wash your hands and don’t hoard toilet paper and hand sanitizer. If you are sick, isolate yourself and protect others, making sure you contact your healthcare provider for assistance and the appropriate next steps. Take care of your family. Stay positive and avoid complaining.
Help Others – Use this crisis to help others. How, might you ask? Check on your neighbors or a senior citizen that lives on your street. Offer to pick up groceries for someone who is at risk and shouldn’t be in a public place. Donate blood. There are massive shortages right now and blood is desperately needed. Go to https://www.redcross.org/give-blood.html for donation sites near you. Call friends and family members so that they feel connected and less lonely during this time of self-isolation. Write and send a note card of appreciation to First Responders or to a hospital in your community. Tip hourly store and food service workers generously.
Rely on Your Faith – Many people take great comfort in their faith during times of trouble. Prayer and meditation can be very helpful during times of great stress. You can live stream or listen to podcasts of inspirational messages that can uplift your spirits and give you perspective.
Get Outside, Breathe Deeply and Exercise – Take the time to get outdoors, soak up some sunshine and move. Take a walk, play with your kids, work in your flowerbeds…movement is important to keeping healthy and acts as a natural stress reliever. Maintaining a sense of normalcy is important for yourself and your family during tumultuous times.
Remain Positive – At some point, this crisis will end. Things will return to normal and our lives will go on. Focus on taking it one day at a time and doing your best to look for the good that people are doing for one another. Social Networking is a wonderful way to stay connected and to encourage each other. Avoid negative posts, if possible. Focus your energy on positive thoughts and help others keep their spirits up. Together, we will get through this!