HOW TO COPE WITH COVID 19 STRESS
- Staying Connected with Others
-Even though epidemics restrict access to social support structures, such as schools, workplaces, places of worship, or even spending time with friends and family. -Encourage to be creative about how to maintain connections with others during this time i.e through phone calls
-Talking to a trusted friend or loved one is helpful way to reduce feelings of isolation, anxiety, fear, boredom or vulnerability during social distancing.
-Seeking support from family, friends, mentors, and/or spiritual/religious leaders.
-Being flexible and creative in accessing support via phone, email, text messaging, and video calls.
-Talking about their experiences and feelings to loved ones and friends.
-Writing about their experiences and share them with others through social media and other outlets.
- Managing stressful experience (signs and symptoms):
-Acknowledging that it is understandable to feel anxious and worried about what may happen, especially when many aspects of life are uncertain or have changed.
-Making time to unwind and remind oneself that strong feelings are tolerable and will fade. -Accept, instead of suppressing emotions, and “ride the wave” of strong feelings by observing how they show up in their body without judgment.
-Reducing exposure to distressing and negative news, particularly prior to sleep.
-Pacing between stressful activities, with fun activities after a hard task.
-Relaxing the body and mind by practicing slow, steady breathing and muscle relaxation, as well as any other soothing actions (meditation and prayer, exercise, walking, music, reading for pleasure).
-Maintaining a sense of hope; consider keeping a journal where one writes down things they are grateful for or that are going well.
-Engaging in and enjoying pleasant activities (for example: family altars, sewing, gardening, cooking, playing board games, music, praying and dancing).
UNHELPFUL WAYS OF STRESS MANAGEMENT COMMONLY DONE BY MANY
-Reliance on tobacco, alcohol, and/or drugs to manage stress and emotions.
-Constant worrying (i.e., thinking repeatedly) about the risks or negative consequences of COVID-19.
-Co-ruminating (i.e., worrying out-loud with others) can lead to increased intensity of strong emotions.
-Impulsive or high-risk behaviour that reduces stress in short-term only (e.g., excessive spending, gambling, etc.).
WAYS OF MAINTAINING BASIC SELF-CARE TO IMPROVE ONE’S SENSE OF CONTROL AND ENDURANCE
-Eating healthy food (avoid high sugar foods, alcohol, and too much caffeine).
-Engaging in physical activity.
-Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed and focus on what one can alter.
-Modify one’s definition of a “good day” to meet the current reality of the situation.
-Problem-solving and setting of achievable goals within the new circumstances in one’s life.
-Accepting unhelpful emotions and refocusing attention on activities that are aligned with their values.
-Maintaining daily routines and schedule as much as is possible despite disruptions.
-Increasing positive coping behaviours that have worked in the past.
-Shifting negative self-statements to statements that allow one to function with less distress. Try changing “this is terrible to me” to “this is terrible to me, but I can get through this.
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